Much was made during last night’s Blue Jays/Rays game over Joe Maddon’s decision to put four left-handed batters into his lineup against the left-handed throwing Ricky Romero. Maddon added before the game that he “would have used nine lefties” if he had them.
This approach, dubbed “the Danks Theory” by Rays bloggers, is not new. The Rays have done it for years against changeup artists like Rickey Romero, Jon Danks, and Shaun Marcum. Using same-handed hitters against lefty pitchers goes against traditional baseball orthodoxy but it does, in theory, take away the best weapon of changeup pitchers like Romero (changeups are traditionally not thrown in these match-ups.)
Ricky Romero doesn’t care why the Rays stack their lineup with lefties, nor does he care that they do it. He said just as much to the assembled reporters last night after leading the Blue Jays over the Rays, pitching 6 innings en route to a 7-3 Jays win.
When a reported attempted baiting Romero into offering a pointed comment towards the Rays manager, Romero made it clear the machinations of Overmanagin’ Joe Maddon have no impact on him whatsoever. Via the National Post:
“I really don’t care what he has to say or what his mindset is against me,” Romero said. “If he has nine lefties against me, I’ll find a way to win. That’s just the bottom line.”
And find a way to win, he did. Well, the team won the game. Ricky did his part, allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks in six innings.
The strategic lefties managed to go 5-11 against Romero, according DRays Bay. The Rays blog notes that while Romero did shelf his changeup against the lefties, he did throw his curveball effectively enough to survive the barrage of right-brained thinkers.
We often hear about pitchers who embrace and dive deeply into the world of advanced stats and trends and the like. Ricky Romero’s words indicate that isn’t always the case, nor is it always in the best interests of the players. Romero isn’t a marginal pitcher looking to get an edge that might keep him in the game, he is a talented pitcher with ability for days.
The vagaries of the Rays strategies aren’t exactly his priority. Romero and his catcher/pitching coach formulate a plan of attack and try getting hitters out. That’s it. That is all he should be concerned with. Like a blogger focussing too much on analytics and page views, Romero’s focus must remain doing his best work all the time, attacking each batter and each situation with his very best offering.
With that in mind, please enjoy this slideshow of Ricky Romero and his ex-girlfriend, former Miss America Justin Beiber Hunger Games Dark Knight Rises Emma Watson iPhone5.