Pitching well down the stretch for the Cincinnati Reds put Sal Romano on the right path for the spring.
Last season Sal Romano had a half a decent season for the Cincinnati Reds. His debut was rough, but when he came back up he was ready. By the end of the season Romano had reached a level of consistency.
For the season Romano made sixteen start for the big league club. He went 5-8 with an ERA of 4.45. Those are not great numbers, but they are solid.
Romano pitched 87 innings, allowing 9 home runs. Again, that is not great but it is passable. However, thanks to 37 walks, Romano’s WHIP was 1.47.
Romano’s inability to keep runners off of base was clearly his Achilles’ heel coming up through the minors and caused him to stop using his change-up for a while. His 2016 season is what got him an invite to last year’s spring training. In that season he walked just 34 resulting in a WHIP of 1.22.
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Last year at Louisville, Romano walked 17 batters over ten starts covering 49 1/3 innings of work. His 1.34 WHIP was below his minor league norm of 1.41. The combination of a low number of walks and just about a hit per inning made Romano’s Triple-A visit good enough for the Reds to bring him up later in the season.
Thanks to his 2017 season, Sal Romano earned the first spring training start for the Cincinnati Reds.
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There are only two things that matter in spring training for starting pitchers, how early they come into a game and how many innings they can pitch. Romano aced both of those as he was the first pitcher to pitch fro the Reds and he went two innings.
Over two innings Romano allowed just a solo home run and one other hit. He didn’t walk any and he struck out one. That is a good start for the starter.
He was followed by Tyler Mahle and Jackson Stephens, who each went two innings. Mahle walked one and Stephens didn’t walk any.
Given that they went two, they are in the running for the rotation the first week of spring training games.
Romano, though, did what he set out to do. He got through a spring start without any control issues. Take away a solo home run by former Red Yonder Alonso and it would have been a perfect start to the spring. As it was, Romano had just one bad pitch.
The path to the rotation isn’t completely clear, though. Mahle once again looked impressive as one of the Reds’ top pitching prospects. Those two may end up battling down the stretch for the fifth spot in the rotation.