Baseball is a cruel game. Often time’s bizarre things happen during the course of the season in the Bigs… Thing’s that can’t be explained or broken down regardless of how many stats we keep, video’s we watch or blogs we follow.
In seasons past, Toronto’s left handed Ace (Ricky Romero) has been one of the American Leagues top starting Pitchers as he has compiled a 42 – 29 record in his 93 MLB appearances coming into play at the beginning of the 2012 season.
For some reason or another, Romero has fallen victim of poor run support thought his career. Despite keeping his team in ballgames, the Blue Jays hitters have unquestionably had a hard time rallying behind their No. 1 Starter.
To give you an idea of the tough luck Romero has faced in the past, 2011 saw the Blue Jays drop 11 of Ricky’s starts by a margin of 2 Runs, 5 of those starts losing by a single Run. At one point, the lack of Run support prompted fans to take to Twitter using the hash tag #Runs4Ricky during his appearances in hopes of bucking the trend.
2012 has been a different story. After Sunday, the Blue Jays are averaging 6.71 Runs per Romero start resulting in a 7-1 record when our Ace takes the hill. Compare this to the 4.49 average in 2011, 4.53 in ’10 and 4.96 in his first season with the team (2009) and you can take notice of the jump in support.
This is where things get funny.
Romero is experiencing a difficult (statistical) start to a season. At times, the 27 year old has struggled with his command resulting in 41 walks (0 intentional) and 38 Earned Runs. 2010 saw Romero walk a career high 82 batters in 210 innings of work, so far in 2012 he is on pace for a total of 90 by seasons end.
Oddly enough, Romero, (and I say this again) a left handed pitcher, has been tough(er) on right handed bats (.199/.299/.313, 233 PA) yet struggles vs lefties (.277/.376/.514. 117 PA). Historically, Romero has had better numbers vs right handers however this season’s spike in left handed hitter’s success is above average. This is likely a byproduct of the troubles he has experienced with control to begin the season. From a pitching perspective, loss of control to on the inside half often results in pitches leaking back over the plate, which at the MLB level, leads to hard hit balls.
To give credit where credit is due, Romero has been tough on the opposition with RISP. Ricky has accumulated a respectable .175 Batting Average when pitching with his back against the wall. You can find another positive in his Strike out total where at 61, Romero is on pace to tie his season high of 178, set in 2011.
Romero is 7-1 and on pace to set a career high in wins with 16…
If we have learned anything from these numbers it’s that despite a down year statistically, Romero’s teammates have bailed him out, something that Ricky has been doing to his hitters for years. At the end of the day, Romero leads the team in wins which is exactly what look for out of your top starter.
Although there is room for improvement, Romero has held tough during the hard times and is beginning to show some steady signs of improvement over his past couple of starts.
Step off the ledge, folks. Our Ace is going to be fine.