In the world of pitching, there is always something to improve upon. A tweak here. A tweak there. Mechanics that can be broken down and rebuilt over and over again.
But Ricky Romero had enough of mechanical tweaking. The left-handed pitcher who was an All-Star for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011 respectfully decided to end the constant tweaking and nitpicking of his pitching delivery.
Instead, he was going to throw the way he always had and focus on his confidence and mental tactics.
It’s a slow process, but it might be starting to come together.
Romero threw an impressive five innings for the Buffalo Bisons before stumbling into some trouble in the sixth inning. He took the no-decision in the Herd’s 4-3 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in the first game of a doubleheader at Coca-Cola Field on Friday night.
The IronPigs shut out the Herd in the nightcap, 4-0.
Romero went 5∏ innings with two walks and three strikeouts. He retired 11 batters in a row and worked with a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning. After getting a ground out to start the frame, Romero gave up three straight hits, including an RBI single to Darin Ruf to get the IronPigs on the board.
A sacrifice fly to deep right by Cody Overbeck tied the game. Romero issued a walk then a hit from Steve Susdorf bounced over the right-center field fence for a ground rule double and a 3-2 Lehigh Valley lead.
But sometimes, those hits happen. Romero was eager and prepared to shake off the negative and focus on the positives.
“It’s going to take a little bit of work but it’s baby steps now and looking at the positives and that’s what I’ve been doing,” Romero said. “It was a pretty good outing.”
He, along with the Blue Jays, have been trying to find remedies to his sudden drop-off in production. For months he worked on changing his mechanics. This past week, Romero decided to go back to the way he has pitched for most of his career. And so far, he’s feeling pretty good.
“It’s natural. That’s what it feels like,” Romero said. “It feels like it’s just me. That’s what I’ll continue to do. We’ll continue to work off those mechanics.
“I was very pleased with what I saw,” Brown said. “His confidence is growing when he gets into a good rhythm. … I think with Ricky right now he’s learning from each outing. I think he feels comfortable with where he is with his mechanics.”
In Friday’s first game, the Herd got on the board in the fourth when with two outs, Moises Sierra was hit in the hip by a 65-mph pitch. Jim Negrych then drilled a double down the left-field line and Sierra scored from first.
An RBI double from Anthony Gose in the fifth made it 2-0.
While the Herd surrendered the lead in the sixth, they regained it in the bottom of the inning. Luis Jimenez drove the first pitch to dead center field to tie the game. Sierra followed with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice and scored on a single from Mike McCoy.
The Herd leaves for an eight-game, nine-day road trip, opening a four-game series with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at 7:05 tonight (Radio 1520 AM).
In the nightcap, the IronPigs got on the board in the fourth. With two baserunners and one out, an error on pitcher Justin Germano as he tried to field the throw from first baseman Jimenez for the force out allowed Cody Asche to score from second.
They added three runs in the seventh. Sierra misplayed a ball in right field, allowing Pete Orr to land on third. He scored on an RBI single by Steven Lerud. With the bases loaded and no outs, Leandro Castro’s single added two more runs.
Earlier on Friday, the Toronto Blue Jays recalled catcher Josh Thole and selected the contract of third baseman Andy LaRoche. Thole, who will catch for knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, started 36 games behind the plate for the Herd. Buffalo went 24-12 in those games. At the plate, he drove in 31 runs.
LaRoche drove in 32 runs and had seven home runs in 49 games with the Herd.
Meanwhile, catcher Sean Ochinko was promoted to the Bisons from Double-A New Hampshire. Ochinko, 25, hit .244 with 13 doubles and 20 runs scored for the Fisher Cats. He threw out 10 base runners in 28 stolen base attempts. He was an 11th round pick by Toronto in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Friday night, the Toronto media reported that Dustin McGowan would be activated by the Blue Jays on Saturday.
The Herd leaves for an eight-game, nine-day road trip, opening a four-game series with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at 7:05 tonight (Radio 1520 AM). Claudio Vargas (4-5, 5.52) is scheduled to start for the Bisons against Brett Marshall (2-4, 7.27).