Hopefully Sergio Romo gets off the DL soon, because he is incredibly fun to watch. Though Brian Wilson’s popularity might have you thinking otherwise, Romo is the original bearded reliever on the Giants. He’s also the best reliever on the Giants. He has an xFIP of 1.64, which would be lowest in the majors if his 37 ⅔ innings made the service time criterion. His game is getting a ton of strikeouts while keeping his walks low - this year, he’s averaging over 12 and a half strikeouts per 9 innings while walking under ONE. Unfortunately, he’s been sidelined recently with an arm injury that isn’t supposed to be too serious; he hasn’t thrown in a game since August 9th.
Romo slings a fastball (a riding four-seamer and a sinking two-seamer) in the 89-90 mph range, but his primary pitch (making up more than half of his pitches this year) is a slurvey, 79 mph slider. He throws from a three-quarters motion, so he will generate more side-to-side movement on his pitches than will a pitcher coming from a higher angle.
Something that surely many people wonder about is why manager Bruce Bochy limits Romo’s playing time so much - before his injury, his 37 ⅔ innings was low for a pitcher with such good numbers. A lot of it had to do with limiting Romo’s competition to right-handed batters. Coming into this week’s play, Romo faced 71% same-handed (righty) batters, which is second highest in the majors to lefty Randy Choate (72%). For his four-year career, Romo has an xFIP of 2.60 against righties and 3.97 against lefties, which basically tells us he’s dynamite against righties and still good against lefties.
So, even though it may not seem reasonable to cut such a successful pitcher’s playing time so much, I don’t think it’s an outrageous move at all to reserve Romo for (mainly) right-handed competition. That way, he can use his slider most effectively.
This will be my last piece as a featured writer for Beyond the Box Score. I would like to thank my co-writers here at BtB for being such supportive teammates and overall good-guys, and a particularly big thanks to Justin for, honestly, everything.