With the April that Sergio Romo was having, it was a good thing seeing that the Giants were winning more games than they were losing (15-12), but in as many wins the Giants had, that’s how many appearances Romo had as well. However, not every appearance would come in a save situation because otherwise Romo’s knee and elbow could have exploded at the same time from the overuse.
He had his good stuff in April, too: seventy-one percent strike rate, fifteen strikeouts, one walk, and only one home run given up (to Dioner Navarro of all people) on a windy Wrigley Field day. No outing went longer than twenty pitches, and Romo never had to pitch more than an inning. It can be pretty tempting to use your high leverage pitcher for more than one inning, but Bruce Bochy never did that, even in the couple of chances he had. The April 22nd-24th stretch of games is the only time this year Boch has used Romo three games in a row.
To adjust to his more frequent usage, Romo has prepared a new pitch to include in his repertoire, the cutter, and it probably thrills opponents that they have another pitch to look forward to. However, the cutter is probably what opponents would like to see most, as it has the least movement of all of his pitches.
So Romo stuck with pretty much the fastball-slider combo that got him to where he is, but after the whole world was getting to see him in April, he had to adjust. The changeup is in their heads, and the fastball certainly is, and you gotta believe the slider’s there as well. So you’re thinking movement, movement, movement then all of a sudden you get a pitch that doesn’t move (much) and there are going to be times when that works in Romo’s favor.
Transitioning back to the game log and turning the calendar page to May, and you’ll notice he’s only had eight appearances, although the K-BB is eight to two, no homers have been surrendered, but there has been a lower strike rate, this month’s at sixty-three percent.
The two times Romo has been used on consecutive days in May, the following day was a day off for the team. So with the fifteen games in April and the eight in May, this means through forty-eight games, Romo has made twenty-three appearances, putting him on pace to get into 77.625 games. I’m sure Boch is not going to try to use Romo in that many games this year, but it will be something to keep an eye on, and if Bochy selects Romo to the All Star game in July should his production hold, I’ll also be curious to see whether the young man will actually be used. We’ll save that conversation for later, if necessary.