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Rays journal: Rays gamble on Sergio Romo's track record, heart

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Published Jul. 24, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG — Some of RHP Sergio Romo's numbers this season with the Dodgers were the worst of his career, yet the Rays feel he can be a good fit for their bullpen.

Romo, acquired late Saturday for cash considerations, pitched 25 innings for the Dodgers this season. He had a 6.12 ERA with a career-high 1.400 walks plus hits per inning pitched and 4.3 walks per nine.

"I think any time a guy who throws mid to upper 80s, when they hit a rough patch, it's easy to say he's toast, he's done," GM Erik Neander said Sunday.

"The way that we look at it is we think what he brings to the table, the ability to miss bats, a lot of that's still there."

The Rays tried to sign Romo last offseason. One reason is his career 0.98 WHIP is tops in the majors, and he has held right-handed hitters to a .189 average over his career.

RAYS FALL TO RANGERS: Rays claim not to be panicking after third straight brutal loss.

He was also a big part of three World Series-winning teams with the Giants, serving as the closer on the 2012 squad.

"(It's) a situation where a guy has an elite heart and an elite track record of pitching in huge spots," Neander said.

Romo, who was expected to join the team today, has thrown his slider a career-high 66 percent of the time this season. It's possible he has not used his fastball enough to set up his out pitch. It's also possible age is catching up with the 34-year-old, or that the National League West hitters have seen him too often for his slider to have the same effect.

"This is a guy who still has an elite breaking ball that he can command," Neander said. "He can do a lot of things with it. He knows when to use his fastball. This guy has some artist to him on the mound and some competitiveness.

"The stuff package isn't so far removed from when he's been at his peak. To come into a league that is fresh and doesn't have nearly as much experience against him as the NL West, that matters, so we'll see what happens."

RELATED: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays, columnist Martin Fennelly says.

Odorizzi struggles

RHP Jake Odorizzi couldn't command his changeup Sunday and, as a result, couldn't get an out in the fifth inning during the Rays' 6-5 loss to the Rangers.

Odorizzi allowed two home runs and a triple, and all three came off changeups, he said.

"Just didn't do a very good job of putting guys away with two strikes," he said. "I guess you can say I wasted pitches instead of putting them away. It's a fine line, obviously. With two strikes, I didn't put guys away, and then I got beat on some bad changeups."

Boxy blues

RHP Brad Boxberger allowed a pair of home runs in the eighth inning and took his second loss of the three-game series. Just as it was Friday, when Boxberger allowed the winning run to score in the 10th inning, a walk was his undoing.

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"The last couple of outings haven't gone the way I wanted them to," he said. "I'm definitely walking more than I want to, so it's got to start with throwing strikes and getting ahead of guys. I haven't been able to do that lately."

MOONEY'S TAKEAWAYS: Staff writer Roger Mooney's takeaways from the Rays' loss to the Rangers.

Number of the day

15 Consecutive starts in which Odorizzi has allowed at least one home run. He has allowed 23 homers in 18 starts this year.

Miscellany

. The Rays were swept for the third time this season, the first at home.

. They have allowed a season-high four homers.

. Rangers SS Elvis Andrus was 0-for-5 after having multiple hits and 14 total in the first five games this season against the Rays.

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