The All-Star break couldn't come quick enough for Toronto lefty Ricky Romero. Tonight, he tries to put the brakes on a personal three- start losing streak when the Blue Jays open their second half with the first of three games against the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre.
Romero, an All-Star last season, pitched to a 5.22 ERA in the first half, but was provided with plenty of run support and is 8-4. He's been awful lately, though, and on Sunday fell to the Chicago White Sox, allowing two runs and four hits in six innings. He had given up eight runs in each of his last two outings.
"I'm as disappointed as anyone in my first half," Romero said. "You learn from moments like this. I know 100 percent in my mind that it's gonna make me better."
Romero did not get a decision the last time he faced the Tribe and is 2-1 in four starts against them with a 5.79 ERA.
The Jays went into the break at 43-43, quite an accomplishment given the fact that three of their starting pitchers have been on the disabled list for the better part of the season.
A big reason for their success has been the play of All-Star outfielder Jose Bautista, who is tied for the league lead with 27 home runs, and the breakout season of Edwin Encarnacion, who is hitting .295 with 23 home runs and 58 RBI this season.
The 29-year-old was rewarded with a three-year, $27 million contract extension on Thursday.
Cleveland, meanwhile, starts the second half 44-41, three games back of the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central. The Indians were in first place as late as July 15 last season, but were 31-40 down the stretch.
Heading to the hill for the Indians tonight will be righty Justin Masterson, who has lost two of his last three starts. Masterson was hammered in a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays last Friday to the tune of eight runs in just 4 1/3 innings, dropping him to 5-8, while raising his ERA to 4.40.
Masterson has faced the Blue Jays 11 times (3 starts) and is 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA.
Toronto took two of three from the Tribe earlier in the year.