Home > Toronto Blue Jays > Ricky Romero Walks 8, Strikes Out 8 Less Than 8

Ricky Romero Walks 8, Strikes Out 8 Less Than 8

I was going to write something about this last month when he gave up eight earned runs three times in the span of a month, but last night gave me another chance to ask this question: Where did you go, Ricky Ro?

His wretched 2012 season reached a another low Tuesday night as he walked eight Tigers in 5.1 innings. Even worse, he struck out none. That’s not going to do the K:BB ratio well. Romero was the first pitcher to put up such a line since 2006 with the Rockies’ Greg Reynolds, who has been quite the bust since being drafted with the second pick in that year’s draft Before that, you have to go back to go back to Jose “Don’t Call Me Juan” Guzman in 1991. On May 23 of that year, Guzman actually walked nine with no strikeouts in a start that lasted just 3.2 innings.

It was the second start in Romero’s career that he had gone without a K, and both have come this season. He walked five and struck out zero Twins on May 13. He is just the eighth pitcher in the last 20 years to have two games with at least five walks and no Ks in a single season.

The other esteemed names on that list? Tim Belcher; Pat Rapp; Joe Mays; this year’s version of Derek Lowe; 35-year-old Pat Hentgen; 37-year-old Tom Glavine; and 46-year-old Charlie Hough.

It’s hard to believe that the 27-year-old Romero, a man who struck out at least 170 batters in each of the past two seasons and had a decent 7.24 K/9 career average heading into this season, is now a part of that company.

So what’s wrong?

You can’t really say it’s bad luck since his .290 BABIP is just one point higher than in 2010, when he was fairly solid. According to FanGraphs, his velocity is stable. His rates of line drives and ground balls are comparable to previous years. I think it comes down to what did him in this latest outing: balls and strikes.

In just 155 innings, Romero has already walked a career-high 87 batters. His walk percentage is now up to 12.5 percent after being in the single digits in 2010 and 2011, and his strikeout rate has dropped from 19 percent to 15 percent.

He’s also not fooling many people. All of his swing percentages are at career lows while his contact rates are at career highs. Romero’s swinging strike percentage is down from 9.6 percent last year to 7.8 percent this year, below league average.

It’s just pure speculation, but maybe he’s hiding an injury …?

Worst yet, he’s been one of the most disappointing pitchers in fantasy baseball this season, and I drafted him! Forget the Blue Jays’ losses; Ricky Romero owes ME a face-to-face explanation!

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean much for Toronto this year as it is far back of the playoff hunt. But for a first-round pick who was a Rookie of the Year candidate in ’09 and was so good last year, Romero has fallen off in alarming ways this season, right when he’s supposed to be in his prime. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how he finishes up this season, which might end sooner than expected for him. I figure the Blue Jays would just shut Romero down if he continues to embarrass himself like he did last night.

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