On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rays used relief pitcher Sergio Romo as their starter. As it turns out, this will not be a one-time thing. Romo will also get the ball on Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels, the first pitcher in six years to start on consecutive days for his team.
#Rays on Sunday will start …. Romo. Again.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) May 20, 2018
First pitcher to start in back to back days since Zack Greinke in 2012 (who got ejected in the first inning and started the next day) https://t.co/c038XaJ2ed
— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) May 20, 2018
Of course, Romo isn’t being used like a traditional starter. Statistically, the first inning is the hardest for pitchers. Given that the Angels lineup starts with three powerful right-handed bats (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, and Justin Upton), Tampa thought it wise to use Romo — who normally works against righties later in the game — in the first inning, then go to the regular “starter” in the second.
On Saturday, it worked like a charm, with Romo striking out Cozart, Trout, and Upton.
I am very entertained that the "Sergio Romo will be the opener" thing started out like this pic.twitter.com/mqx4Twu70D
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) May 20, 2018
Tampa seems at least committed to giving this strategy a fair chance. So, expect the Rays to do this more throughout the year. If it works, it will not be six years before we see this again.