Blue Jays: Why using Jordan Romano last night was the right call
It looked like the Blue Jays might try to save Jordan Romano for another night on Wednesday, but using their trusted closer was the right call.
Entering the 9th inning with a 5-3 lead, it made all the sense in the world that Romano started to warm up and get ready for the save opportunity. However, once Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a solo shot to make it 6-3 and the Blue Jays threatened to add more runs, Nate Pearson started to get ready in a hurry as well.
Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler talked about the situation quite a bit as the Blue Jays were batting in the 9th, and they were pretty convinced that Pearson was coming in to pitch. Their logic was fairly sound as Romano pitched the night before against the Yankees, and has had a fairly big workload lately. Pearson likely would have pitched if the Jays had added another run or two, but Charlie Montoyo instead turned to the Canuck closer who quickly picked up three outs to nail down the right save.
As much as it would have been great to save Romano for Thursday’s series finale, it was the right decision to make sure they won the game in front of them.
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With just 24 games left in the regular season, there’s no time to think about tomorrow when it comes to bullpen decisions. The Blue Jays have made up a ton of ground lately, and they’re now just 1.5 games back of the Yankees, and 2.0 behind the Red Sox for the two Wild Card spots. The urgency is even more pronounced because they’re playing the Yankees in a head to head series at the moment, and so far they’ve managed to make up 3.0 games over the last three days.
With all due respect to Pearson, it would be an awfully difficult position to put him in considering he’s pitched in just three big leagues games this season. He’s made two appearances since his long-awaited return from the Injured List, and there have been mixed results. His last outing was very encouraging and definitely something to build on, but the 24 year old looked very shaky in the first one.
If things had gone sour for Pearson in that situation, it would be a big blow from multiple angles. Obviously the lost opportunity against the Yankees would be the most important aspect, but it may have rendered big Nate all but unusable for the remainder of the regular season. That might sound extreme, but the Blue Jays can’t afford to let their pitchers work things out in high leverage situations. Pearson’s last outing was a success, and I think he could work himself into that type of role down the stretch, but he needs to build on more than one successful appearance.
So while I understand the argument that the Jays could or should have used Pearson last night, I was a big fan of Montoyo’s decision to call in the closer. This isn’t the time to mess around, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll even need him tomorrow. The Blue Jays have to win every game they can for the remainder of the season, and thankfully they were able to do just that on Wednesday night.