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We’re already well past the halfway mark of the 2012 season, and I hate to say that Ricky Romero’s year might already be a write-off. Even as a self-appointed eternal optimist, it's going to be tough for Ricky to salvage his campaign.
Statistically speaking, it’s really no secret as to why Ricky Romero is having a bad year; his walks are up, his strikeouts are down, he’s not pitching deep into games, and despite having the best run support of his career, Romero’s peripheral stats are among some of the worst of his career.
Pat Hentgen spoke about Romero’s struggles earlier this morning on the FAN, and he indicated that the mental aspect of the game may be playing havoc with Ricky right now. I’m not saying intangibles are entirely responsible for Ricky Romero’s demise, but I certainly believe they have a lot to do with it.
If Romero was in fact playing through an injury, would that make things any better? I certainly wouldn’t blame him for doing so, since another injury is the last thing the Blue Jays need right now. He was supposed to anchor the pitching squad this season, so there must be enormous pressure on Ricky to right the ship.
The most frustrating part about everything is how Romero has fallen so quickly so fast. After posting back-to-back solid seasons, Romero was inevitably a case for regression, but I don’t think anybody could have foreseen the complete and utter unraveling of Ricky Romero.
This was a pitcher who was the de facto “ace” of the Blue Jays staff the past two seasons, and now he’s looking more and more like a mid to back-end starter.
Things have undoubtedly been rough on the Blue Jays pitching staff this season, but I wonder if Romero’s struggles have been amplified simply because he was the one guy fans were expecting to have a solid season?
By all indications, Ricky’s 2012 hasn’t been the absolute worst by a starting pitcher this season, but it is in fact pretty close. Compound that with the fact that three starters in the rotation went down to injury, and Romero’s struggles have been amplified that much more.
I guess the one bright spot here is that this isn’t an isolated issue pertaining exclusively to Ricky Romero and the Blue Jays. Jon Lester, Tim Lincecum, Dan Haren and many other starting pitchers are mired in some of the worst seasons of their respective careers.
Before things get any worse for Ricky Romero, they have to get better. Taking a step back and having Ricky skip his next start might not be that bad of an idea. J.A. Happ could certainly slot in and make a spot start in Romero’s absence, even though Happ should really be in the rotation anyway.
Assuming the Blue Jays are going to contend in the next few years, Ricky needs to get right. And if he can take a break and string some good starts through the last few months of the season, I think that will do more good for his psyche than just parading him out to the mound every fifth game and bracing for impact.
If 2012 is going to be a write-off for Ricky Romero, at least it’s this season and not 2013 or 2014 when the Blue Jays might be poised to do some real damage in the AL East.