Romero clears the air — Jays lose
By BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency
|Starting pitcher Zach Stewart (left) and catcher Jose Molina talk on the mound during the Blue Jays' loss to Atlanta Tuesday night. (Reuters)
ATLANTA - The only time Ricky Romero ever, ever complained about the Blue Jays lack of offence was on a night he was part of it.
The Blue Jays lefty said after a series opening 2-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Monday that “someone had to step up,” how it was too tough relying on Jose Bautista and Adam Lind every night.
What followed on Tuesday were tweets by Romero, a meeting with manager John Farrell and Romero addressing his teammates before batting practice.
“It was not an apology, he didn’t need to apologize, it was an explanation,” said one player.
On Monday, Romero was 0-for-2 with a strikeout, giving up a two-run homer in the seventh to counterpart Tim Hudson, the second homer of his career in 444 plate appearances.
Romero could have said exactly the same Tuesday night as the Jays fell 5-1 to the Braves before 26,849 fans at Turner Field.
The Jays have dropped three straight and are two games below .500 for the first time since June 12.
A Bautista drive was caught at the fence and Lind knocked in the Jays lone run.
Hudson won his 171st game with his arm and his bat.
Lefty Mike Minor won his first game Tuesday, allowing five hits in seven innings on Tuesday.
Brian McCann broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth, pulling a 91 m.p.h. fastball to right for a two-run homer.
The Jays managed three doubles, two singles, were 1-for-6 with men in scoring position to fall for a second night in the Georgia heat.
This was not Tony Fernandez standing in the visiting clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City in 1989, apologizing to his teammates for quitting on the Jays the night before. After three straight strikeouts against Bret Saberhagen he walked up the tunnel to the clubhouse and didn’t return. Manager Cito Gaston made Fernandez apologize the next night. Asked why there was such a delay getting a replacement ready Gaston laughed and said, “if I had an infielder warm up every time Tony stormed off, the guy would have a sore arm” ... RickyRo24’s tweets: “Wanna clear up that I did NOT call out any of my teammates. Never been that guy. I go about my business and that’s it. I respect everyone on my team. And my team knows what I’m all about. Some people try and make something outta nothing. My team is my Family.” ... The Jays have lost nine of Romero’s 15 starts, huffing and puffing their way to a total of 13 runs in the nine losses. Romero is much like former aces Steve Rogers and Dave Stieb who we’ve seen try to deal with a lack of run support over the years. Bautista said the Jays don’t have an approach that “Ricky’s pitching, tonight, so we don’t have to score as many.” Bautista said it was exactly the opposite. “The thing is, the best pitchers face the best pitchers,” Bautista said. “He can say anything he wants. He can express his frustrations.” ... All Romero said on Monday was, “We can’t rely on Bautista, we can’t rely on Lind. We’ve got to get somebody else to step up, get on base and drive them in. Those guys are getting pitched around. Everyone’s got to step up or else we’re not going to win ball games, we’re going to keep losing like this. This team doesn’t revolve around one or two guys. Everyone’s got to put in their part.” ... Both Lind and Bautista said they didn’t feel as if they were being pitched around. There was not a thing wrong with what Romero said. He was accurate. The tweets accelerated matters (one return tweet was “hey how ’bout getting a pitcher out?”), which led to the Farrell meeting and Romero adressing the team.
Zack Stewart was first to feel the warm waters from the nearby Chattahoochee River in the showers, facing 22 men, retiring only nine. Catcher Bengie Molina threw out Jason Heyward trying to steal in the first and Gonzalez was thrown out trying to advance on throw to the plate, ending the third. Stewart allowed 10 hits in 32/3, including doubles to Braves starter Minor (man those Braves pitchers are tough to pitch to) and Gonzalez, McCann’s homer, an infield hit to Nate McClouth and three walks, one intentional. Minor scored as did Jordan Schafer, who led off the game with a five-pitch walk. Stewart threw 26 pitches in the first and needed a two-out, visit from pitching coach Bruce Walton, but thanks to Molina’s arm he only allowed one run. Stewart was gone after 77 pitches (47 strikes) ... Second baseman Aaron Hill was hitless in his four trips, two with men in scoring position ... Cory Patterson hit a ball to the fence in the first and was headed for a sure triple when he stumbled past second. Braves second baseman Dan Uggla came up throwing to third, Patterson righted himself and made it second avoiding no-man’s hand. Bautista pinned McClouth to the fence for the second out (a scoring fly ball, if Patterson makes third). Lind delivered a run-scoring single with two out. ... Third baseman Mike McCoy, who made a fine bare-handed play on a Schafer bunt attempt in the sixth ... Marc Rzepczynski worked 21/3 innings without allowing a base runner ... Hudson’s home run trot needs work. It took him 29 seconds to cruise around the bases Monday. “I thought I was watching an old man run,” said Braves catcher David Ross ... Question on Braves TV from a fan in Knoxville: “Do Jays players get paid in Canadian or U.S. money?” One Canadian dollar was worth $1.02838 U.S. on Tuesday.