Ricky Romero was terrible again last night, and I’m finding it about as hard right now to grope around for something new and interesting to say about it, as it is to try to make sense of how the latest turd fits into the pile of them our Opening Day starter has been laying out behind the shed all damn summer.
Seven hits. Eight walks. No strikeouts.
Putting the game into historical context, before calling it “a tortured cry for help,” Jeff Sullivan writes at FanGraphs that the last pitcher to post a worse ratio of walks-to-strikeouts “was Jose Guzman, at 9:0, in 1991. Before that, you’d have to go back to 1971, and before that, you’d have to go back to 1951. The most recent starter to post a ratio of 8:0 was Greg Reynolds in 2008, and the less said about Greg Reynolds, the better. Before that, the most recent 8:0 start happened in 1982.”
I’m pretty sure it’s reached the 2011 Rasmus point, where there’s little left for the club to do but to let Ricky play out the string and try to regroup over the winter, while they search for even more pitching as a contingency for the fact that one of the mere two pitchers they’ve assured a rotation spot for 2013 may turn out not to warrant a spot in the Majors.
In what’s been an ugly season for the Jays, Romero’s total implosion may rank as the ugliest, most far-reaching development. Which isn’t to suggest that he’s unfixable, or that it makes a lick of goddamn sense that a young pitcher at the height of his career might completely and utterly lose it in the blink of an eye, but… we’ll have to just wait and see.
And of course, with things so ugly on the field, and so much down time forced upon us, it can’t help but bleed into frustration and sniping among the fans, media, and bloggers who follow the team– as we saw rather clearly in a post from Mop Up Duty last night, who made waves [read: got linked to by the invaluable Baseball Think Factory] with their unfortunate reaction to some strong comments from Dirk Hayhurst at the conclusion of Sportsnet’s broadcast.
“He’s absolutely warranted a demotion,” said Hayhurst after being asked by Jamie Campbell if a trip to Las Vegas may have been in the cards, were the minor league season not so close to its conclusion. “Eight walks is just far too many walks to stay in the big leagues with. I’m a big Ricky fan, I played with him, I like the guy, but at some point you have to look at all this failure and realize this is beyond the confines of normal failure, this is now stretching into the area of embarrassment. He’s out there and he’s embarrassed himself. He knows it, the fans know it, the team knows it.”
Now, personally, I don’t have a problem with any of what Dirk says here, but that’s likely because, unlike Mop Up Duty’s Callum, I think there’s a distinction between calling a man an embarrassment and saying that he is himself embarrassed by what’s going on, and that it’s a little bit rich to go off on Hayhurst as though he said the former, when if you look closely, it was really more of the latter.
Then again, I may just be overreacting in my own right, on account of how much I absolutely loathe the absolute horseshit nonsense Callum later suggests about opinions, no matter how well reasoned or informed, not being valid unless a person has some level of credential– the kind of lazy garbage that was for so long used to dismiss out of hand entirely fair criticisms that came from the mother’s-basement-dwelling stooges writing in the exact same medium he is.
Or, I don’t know, maybe I’m just irked by the attempted application of an impossibly narrow reading of Hayhurst’s books, in which we’re told that ”Hayhurst describes baseball as a constant struggle, so much so that he succumbed to bouts of depression because of it.”
I mean, I think there was a liiiiiiiitle more depth to it than that. But… um… yeah. See what I mean? Total fucking snipe fest over here. And we’d all better get used to it. Five-and-a-half weeks to go!