Saturday, 23 March 2013

Sometimes Ricky, you just gotta bounce

Melky Cabrera survey Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
 Spring training baseball isn't real baseball.

The articles, tweets and general ruckus has been pumping out in a steady stream since spring training began. Those expecting a World Series are feeling a little concerned. However are the Blue Jays going to be 2013 World Series Champions when they are getting beat by the Houston Astros? Why can't Ricky throw a strike? Why has Colby only hit one homerun? Why do the Jays keep losing?

Because here it is folks: Spring training baseball isn't real baseball.

It's practice. Practice where players stretch out kinks, try new things, and maybe think about going to the beach after the game or take their kids to Disneyland. You don't have to win these games. There aren't 50,000 people in the stands. The Blue Jays aren't 1.5 games behind in the AL East.

So everyone is freaking out about Ricky Romero. John Lott posted an article this morning about Ricky's recent woes facing single A minor leaguers (64 pitches, 29 strikes, 5 walks, 4 runs). This quote stuck in my head:

“It’s part of spring training,” Arencibia said. “You’re going to have your lumps. I had to deal with it in 2011 when I hit .057 in spring training and everyone was like, ‘Could he hit big-league pitching?’ I stunk all spring training. Opening day I hit two home runs.
“There’s a big difference [between spring training and the regular season]. You just have to take it with a grain of salt and know that he’s going to be fine.”


Ricky is having control issues all over the mound. Jerry Howarth notably said on the radio yesterday, "Something is broken with Romero." Rumour is rife that he's hurt, that those off season surgeries were more or mean more than original thought, or just plain and simple that
Ricky has lost control.

I honestly don't know one way or the other. But this I do know. Ricky will break with the team from Spring Training and he will pitch in front of 50,000 fans at home against the Boston Red Sox on April 6th.

That is the game that matters, and everyone after that. If he truly has lost it, if he can't find the strike zone, if he can't get out of his own head. J.A Happ is sitting just an hour and a half away in Buffalo, and even though Spring training dosen't matter, his 1.90 ERA over 19 innings has been impressive.

Ricky Romero is a competitor.  He isn't the ace anymore. That has to be a weight off his shoulders. He is suddenly the starting pitcher that the team expect the least out of. And I think that's where he needs to be. If the Jays are winning games. If the other four starting pitchers are taking control, and the sluggers are doing what they do best, maybe he will relax a little bit and play his own game. It's there. We've all seen it. Maybe he can be the kid from 2011 again.

Here is who I think will be breaking spring training:

Everyday second baseman:

Emilio Bonifacio

 Back up catcher. (Yes, he does look like he's gone a few rounds and maybe passes a close resemblance to the swamp man). Henry Blanco. Josh Thole will be catching every day down in Buffalo in case JP has an injury.

The Blue Jays can use the veteran experience. Even of the swamp man variety.
 And because I can some more photos from spring training.

Jose Reyes.

Melky Cabrera.

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