Angels' Cozart: Rays starting Romo in back-to-back games 'bad for baseball'
Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Tampa Bay Rays are trying something new and the somewhat controversial move has its first high-profile critic: Los Angeles Angels third baseman Zack Cozart.

"It was weird," Cozart told Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic regarding the Rays starting reliever Sergio Romo on back-to-back days. "It's bad for baseball, in my opinion ... It's spring training, that's the best way to explain it."

Romo, 35, had served as a high-leverage reliever for his entire 11-year career until Saturday when he made his first start in his 589th appearance. After Romo struck out the top of the Angels' order before turning it over to Ryan Yarbrough - who carried the next 6 1/3 innings - Rays manager Kevin Cash confirmed Romo would start Sunday's finale against the Halos as well.

The Rays turned heads earlier in the season by committing to a four-man rotation with a bullpen day on the fifth day. With the Angels' heavily right-handed lineup, Tampa Bay continued its progressive approach by starting with an "opener" - the opposite of a closer - which can serve to keep the game close early and ensure a team makes use of its best reliever.

The benefits of piggybacking the left-handed Yarbrough after Romo are multifold. Not only do the platoon splits work in the Rays' favor with Romo and Yarbrough pitching with the opposite hand, but it prevents Yarbrough from facing the top of the Angels order - a particularly daunting crew which includes Mike Trout - for a third time. MLB teams - and the Rays in particular - seem to be preventing starters from facing the 'third-time-through-the-order' penalty to a growing extent.

Romo faced six batters Sunday, allowing two walks over 1 1/3 innings with a trio of strikeouts before turning it over to right-hander Matt Andriese who carried the next two innings in the loss.

Angels' Cozart: Rays starting Romo in back-to-back games 'bad for baseball'
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