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Where in the world is Sergio Romo?

May 13, 2011

Pitcher A Career:  .193/.254/.314 slashline against; 10.2 K/9; 2.2 BB/9
Pitcher B Career: .233/.315/.324 slashline  against; 9.8 K/9; 3.9 BB/9 
One of those pitchers is our closer. The other one has the better line.

Pitcher X Career vs. LH-batters: .188/.261/.276 slashline against; 7.79 K/9; 3.08 BB/9
Pitcher Y Career vs. LH-batters: .226/.316/.375 slashline against; 7.37 K/9; 3.96 BB/9
One of those pitchers is our LOOGY. The other one has the better line.  

I’m sure you already know where I’m going with this. Pitchers A and X are Sergio Romo, B is Brian Wilson, and Y is Javier Lopez. And yet, we’ve seen a grand total of, oh I don’t know, 9.2 innings of Romo, in 38 games. Meanwhile Wilson has thrown 17.1, Lopez 15.1, Ramon Ramirez 17 and Jeremy Affeldt  14.

It was easy to make excuses for a while. “Oh, its not a set-up situation and he’s our set-up man,” “Bochy is playing match-ups,” etc. But by now I think we’ve failed to see Romo in just about every single possibly meaningful situation: Tie-game, close game, set-up, you name it. The last four times we have seen him he’s only faced a single batter. It’s driving me completely batty.

Believe it or not, I’m not trying to advocate for Romo closing (well, not for now at least) or Lopez being relegated to mop-up duty. I just want to see Mr. Mutton-chops being used when it matters. 30 minutes ago Affeldt and Guillermo Mota blew a 3-2 game against the Cubs into an 8-2 blowout in one inning. A few minutes later, Cody Ross hit a 2-run homer. Shockingly, the guy with the 5.27 BB/9 might not be best arm for Bochy to put in a one run game.

It’s also beyond frustrating to see him being used for one batter at a time. He is more than capable of pitching a full inning against someone batting right-handed, left-handed, or with their toes. There’s no need to pull him out for a LOOGY in most situations and blow through the pen at light speed. There’s even less of a need to keep him on a rope half an inch long and pull him the second he allows a hit.

The caveat to all of this, of course, is small sample size. Romo has spent less time in the big leagues than any of the others (quite possibly Bochy’s problem with him). He also has allowed a few memorable home runs. But whether or not he’s likely to regress, he hasn’t done so yet and until he proves otherwise there’s no reason for him to be used as if he was a ticking bomb. And there was never a good reason for him to be pitching less than anyone else in the Giants bullpen.

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