Royals rock Romero, beat Jays

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Henderson Alvarez reaches a hand out to pitcher Ricky Romero (R) after...

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Henderson Alvarez reaches a hand out to pitcher Ricky Romero (R) after Romero was taken out of the game in the seventh inning Monday night. (REUTERS)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:48 PM ET

TORONTO - It was a simple question.

Before the game, Jays manager John Farrell was asked: Which Ricky is going to show up tonight?.

The left-handed pitching one, was Farrells droll reply.

I think hes ready to go tonight for sure.

I have full confidence in him, hes had a good work week in between these last few starts. I think hes beginning to make some things clear in his mind, simplify his overall approach and not try to manage eight innings at the start of the game rather than executing one pitch at a time. Thats a mantra and overused cliche but in this case it clearly applies.

Farrell, of course, didnt know which Ricky Romero would appear but he was hoping it was the Romero of April and May and not the Romero of June.

In June, Romero went 2-1 with three no-decisions but also saw his ERA climb to 4.94 from 4.02. On two occasions he was unable to last more than four innings.

His previous start in Boston may have been his worst as he allowed nine runs, eight earned, on seven hits and six walks in just three innings. It was an ugly performance and came at a time when the rotation needed a lift.

The hope was high that Romero could get it turned around against Kansas City on Monday but unfortunately that wasnt the case as Romero was ratty and the Blue Jays were crushed 11-3.

Like I said, this sport works in mysterious ways some times, a dejected Romero whispered. You can be on top of the world one day and the next day youre trying to find yourself and thats what I feel like right now.

You feel like youre in quicksand and every time you keep getting deeper and deeper and you dont know how to get out of it. Ive got to stay mentally strong. Im going to continue to stay positive and get through this.

Once again Romero was up and down and all around. He opened the game in smart fashion as he needed all off 11 pitches to get through the first inning and then started the second with two strikeouts.

But then came a five-pitch walk to Jeff Francoeur followed by a line drive home run by Salvador Perez. When the ball cleared the fence you could see the confidence rushing out of the left-hander like air from a balloon.

Romero gave up two more runs and three hits in the third and another pair of runs in the fourth, where at one point in the inning the Jays had reliever David Pauley warming up.

He bounced back to keep the Royals scoreless in the fifth and sixth but in the seventh he walked the leadoff batter and after Eric Hosmer followed with a double he was lifted.

Overall, in six-plus innings, Romero allowed a season-high eight runs on 11 hits, walked three and struck out four.

Perhaps in a bid to prop up Romeros sinking confidence, Farrell maintained Romero took a step in the right direction," that he threw more first-pitch strikes, was able to get ahead in the count and attacked the zone better.

The bottom line, though, of eight earned runs and 11 hits can hardly be viewed as a step forward unless you happen to be walking a plank.

When you look at his ability to control the count it was an improvement over his last outing, Farrell said. So in comparison to that, yeah, in my mind it was a step in the right direction.

Is it where the end result is going to be? No, its not. But we cant deny what the bottom line overall was.

Right now Romero still has the ace title, but in name only.

For his part, Romero has no concrete answers to his problems. He is hurting and he is lost.

Its disappointing to look there and see those scores," Romero said. Its just one of those things. You go through these rough patches and sometimes you feel like theyre never going to end and thats how it feels right now.

When he was struggling in the minor leagues he was often his own worst enemy but he said thats not the problem now.

I dont think so," Romero said. "Ive been pretty light on myself for the past two, three weeks. If anything Ive been working a little extra harder, putting a little extra work on what I need to do mechanically. I felt like I had a good week leading up to this.

My arms felt great and everything but the results are not where I want them to be right now and its tough. I dont know what it is right now, I dont.

Not Romero. Not the Jays.


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