Crizer: The remarkable Romo vs. Ohtani game

From Zach Crizer at Baseball Prospectus on January 30, 2019:

One Thursday, a designated hitter slotted into his team’s lineup in the fifth spot and homered as a series began in Anaheim. That Sunday, the DH was his team’s starting pitcher, facing a counterpart famed for saving three games in the 2012 World Series. And the noted 2012 World Series closer had also started the previous day.

Here’s how quickly the unheard of can become the norm: The Associated Press recap of the Rays-Angels game on May 20 ignored career reliever Sergio Romo‘s back-to-back starts until the ninth paragraph. The Los Angeles Times recap didn’t mention Romo at all.

Both accounts gravitated toward DH-turned-starter Shohei Ohtani, whose performance paradoxically snagged the attention by being more sustained than Romo’s newer and arguably weirder role in the proceedings. They eschewed the temptation to take stock of the head-spinning combination, instead hewing close to the outcome and dutifully fulfilling the online recap article’s six-hour, self-immolating purpose.

Outside of that quotidian cycle, this game was something more. To turn on this broadcast was to board a train traveling express from 2008 Baseball to 2028 Baseball. It’s January now; the daily account of runs and wins and losses is meaningless, and the game is still plowing ahead. Before it’s too late, let’s hit rewind, then play, on an episode of 2018 baseball that was, in the most literal sense, remarkable.

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Originally published: January 30, 2019. Last Updated: January 30, 2019.