Cubs 4, Giants 3: Has Bochy gone to the Romo well a bit too much this season?
Well, you knew it couldn’t last forever.
Sergio Romo was absolutely brilliant through the first 10 games of the year. He was 6 for 6 in save opportunities, had an ERA of 0.00 and had only allowed two baserunners.
But Wrigley is Wrigley, and the Cubs used the wind to their favor.
After the Giants rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth to take a 3-2 lead, Dioner Navarro greeted Romo in the bottom of the ninth with a wind-blown solo home run to right.
It was the third wind-blown homer of the day for the Cubs. All three would have been outs on Thursday. All three would have outs at AT&T Park — well, at least two would have been for sure.
It spoiled what looked to be another great day to be a Giant. After being stifled for 7.1 innings by Carlos Villanueva, the Giants finally got into the Cubs’ shaky pen and it paid off in the ninth.
Marco Scutaro started the rally with a one-out double to left-center. Pablo Sandoval followed with a bloop single to right, scoring Scutaro. Buster Posey was hit by a pitch. After Hunter Pence forced out Posey at second (on a play that look REALLLLY close to being a double-play), Brandon Belt lashed a double to right, scoring Sandoval and then Pence all the way from first for the lead.
With Romo in the ninth to close it, it looked like game over. But not on Friday. Not at Wrigley.
But Romo then got the next two Cubs out, and announcers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow raised a good point.
Lefty Javier Lopez was warming up in the bullpen, and they wondered whether manager Bruce Bochy would bring in Lopez to face the left-handed DeJesus.
Krukow’s point, and I would agree, was that Romo’s job was to get the save. Now, with that gone, there’s no point taxing Romo with more pitches, especially when he was pitching in his fourth game in five days. (I would also argue that Bochy should not have used Romo to protect a three-run lead in the ninth inning Tuesday against the Rockies).
But Bochy left Romo in to face DeJesus. Romo was one strike away from ending the inning. But he tried to sneak a fastball by DeJesus, which he promptly laced to center for a single.
Then he made the same mistake to Starlin Castro. Slider, slider, slider for a 2-1 count. Then, on his 20th pitch of the inning, a fastball that Castro doubled off the wall in right center for the game winner.
The Giants talked this spring about not overworking Romo as he makes the transition into a full-time closer. And yet, 11 games into the season, Bruce Bochy has turned into Dusty Baker.
Hopefully, if some good comes out of this loss, it will make the Giants rethink how they use Romo in the future.