In the stillness of the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse, Ricky Romero was blinking his eyes furiously in an attempt to ward off the tears of frustration brought on by his worst outing of his Major League Baseball career.
And neither the 27-year-old or the coaches themselves appear to have any answers as to what is vexing their once fearless pitching leader.
“Embarrassed,” is how Romero succinctly summed up what he was going through after he got shelled for eight runs over just 1.1-innings, his shortest outing of his four-year Major League career.
“This team plays its asses off every night, and for me to come out and have the type of performances, it’s kind of tough to really look my teammates in the eye right now,” the left-hander continued. “Just complete embarrassment with my performance and the way I performed.”
The net result was a 16-0 shellacking at the hands of the Oakland A’s, the worst shutout loss in the history of the Toronto franchise in what was truly an awful outing for the Blue Jays.
With Romero in disarray about his pitching, the Blue Jays also got struck by another injury – this one to catcher J.P. Arencibia, who broke a bone on the top of his right hand when it was struck by a foul ball in the second inning.
The injury won’t require surgery, but he is expected to be out for at least six weeks.
“I knew as soon as it hit me we had a problem,” said Arencibia. “It kind of went numb and I really couldn’t feel much in my hand. When it started turning purple I knew that it was not going to be a good ending.”
Just as concerning is the continuing downward spiral of Romero, who has now lost his last six outings with an astronomical 10.57 earned run average.
Romero continues to struggle with his command, walking six (one intentional) against Oakland, and his once bullish confidence on the mound appears shattered.
“We’ve got to work to get him right, there’s no question about it,” Toronto manager John Farrell said. “We’ve talked a lot about his frame of mind and yet we’ve got to work to rebuild that to get him back on track.”
But Farrell confessed that at the moment he is not sure what it will take to right Romero.
Asked if skipping a start is a possibility, there was a long pause before Farrell answered.
“Not without the off-days at this point,” he said. “Could it be considered, sure, with J.A. Happ being here. But we haven’t had those discussions yet.”
After the game, the Blue Jays announced they were optioning pitcher Chad Beck back to Triple-A.
On Thursday the Blue Jays intend to officially place Arencibia on the disabled list and recall pitcher Evan Crawford and Joel Carreno from Triple-A.