The Process Versus Ricky Romero Re-visited | The Process Report

The Process Versus Ricky Romero Re-visited

From 2009-to-2011, Ricky Romero was one of the more promising, left-handed pitchers in baseball. Because of his arsenal – a plus changeup and good breaking ball which helped produce reverse splits – he was also one of the more intriguing pitchers to matchup against. Unexpectedly, the wheels came off for him in 2012 and have remained off.

In an attempt to re-tool his mechanics, the Jays sent Romero to Class-A Dunedin to start the 2013 season. However, with Josh Johnson hitting the disabled list, Romero returned to the big leagues ahead of schedule. His first start lasted just four innings, allowing three runs on three hits, three walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch. On Wednesday night he made his second start. This one against his nemesis Joe Maddon.

The Rays and Maddon were quick to adapt to Romero’s reverse splits, leaving select left-handed batters in the lineup against him. The former All-Star did not take kindly to the Danks Theory treatment; results on the field or otherswise. In fact, he challenged Maddon to start nine left-handed batters against him. Perhaps in a bit of gamesmanship, Maddon reversed course at the end of last season and started eight right-handed batters in a game versus Romero. He allowed seven runs in one inning of work.

Given his struggles of the past year, matchups do not seem to be as important when facing Romero these days. Nevertheless, Maddon reverted to the Danks Theory tonight and started four left-handed hitters against the southpaw. In doing so he left right-handed batters Ryan Roberts and Sean Rodriguez on the bench.

Romero’s issues were evident early on as he walked Desmond Jennings to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Lefty-hitting Kelly Johnson notched the Rays’ first hit before another walk to Ben Zobrist loaded the bases. Evan Longoria put Tampa Bay on the board with an RBI single. Another left-handed bat, James Loney, tied the game with an RBI single of his own. Following a lineout by Yunel Escobar – the only out registered by Romero – Luke Scott, yet another lefty, gave the Rays the lead on a single to right field.

Romero was lifted after 1/3 of an inning having allowed three runs on four hits and two walks. He nearly threw as many balls (13) as strikes (16). Johnson, Loney, and Scott – the left-handed batters to face him – went 3-3; all three pulling a single to right field. The trio registered hits of an 0-2 changeup, a 2-2 curveball, and 2-1 fastball. Each located over the plate. Of course Sam Fuld, the lone lefty to not face Romero, ended the day 0-4.

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