Cincinnati Reds continue to look at Sal Romano for fifth spot in the rotation

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Thanks to other pitchers stumbling, Sal Romano is in the race for the fifth spot in the Cincinnati Reds rotation.

The Cincinnati Reds thought that they had a fairly settled rotation heading into spring training.  They had the big three of Brandon Finnegan, Anthony DeSclafani, and Homer Bailey finally healthy simultaneously.  They also had a pair of prospects in Robert Stephenson and Luis Castillo ready to win the last two spots.

So far this spring ten pitchers have started games for the Reds.  Beyond the five mentioned above, Amir Garrett, Tyler Mahle, Cody Reed, Sal Romano and Michael Lorenzen have also started games.  Only Castillo, DeSclafani, Finnegan, Garrett, Mahle, and Romano have ERAs lower than 5.00.

Lorenzen has an ERA over 8.00, even though, he seriously wants to start.  Bailey has an ERA of 9.00. Stephenson has lowered his ERA to 7.71 by having successful relief appearances.

In addition to those having difficulties, Amir Garrett and Tyler Mahle have also had good springs.  Garrett has only surrendered two runs over thirteen innings so far. Mahle has a WHIP of 0.61 in over 14 2/3 innings of work.

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Reed, Jackson Stephens, and Keury Mella were all on the outside looking into the rotation battle.  All three have pitched themselves further out of the race. The path for Stephens and Mella to make the team to start the season appears blocked completely.

With the tumultuous state of affairs for the Cincinnati Reds rotation, Sal Romano is doing what he needs to do.

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This spring Romano is 1-1 in four spring starts, including the first start of the Reds’ spring.  He has an ERA of 3.00 to go with a WHIP of 1.17. That is due to a batting average against of .255.

Over twelve innings of work, Romano has surrendered twelve hits.  He has also allowed seven runs, including four earned. He has struckout fifteen batters, while giving up a home run and two walks.

The high number of unearned runs and a a hit per inning are cause for concern.  Romano has shown that he can be a workhorse. However, there are signs that he is too hittable during the rigors of spring training.

The Reds drafted Romano out of high school.  Since then he has bounced between averaging five and six innings per start as he rose through the minors.  He averaged just under 5 ½ innings per start while in Cincinnati last season.

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Romano is trying to take away the fifth spot in the rotation from Stephenson.  This is only an issue because Stephenson has had such a bad spring. Even if Romano doesn’t make the rotation, he has likely earned the first chance in 2018 if someone else falters.