As if the Toronto Blue Jays don't have enough to worry about with their rotation decimated by injuries, there has to be concern about the one starter who should cause the least problems of all, ace Ricky Romero.
Insisting that he feels no pressure with three starters out long-term because of injury -- Brandon Morrow (strained oblique), Kyle Drabek (elbow surgery) and Drew Hutchison (elbow sprain) -- Romero performed poorly Wednesday.
He allowed seven hits and an alarming six walks and nine runs (eight earned) in three-plus innings at a place where he has known grief before, Fenway Park.
Romero is 8-2, but his ERA keeps increasing, standing at 4.94 after Wednesday's 10-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
He has not pitched as well as his eight wins would suggest. He has been blessed with run support this season.
"Man, this year hasn't really come as easy," Romero said earlier this week. "Every spot that I miss, it seems I'm getting hit. Last year I could miss spots and I'd get outs."
Romero said what's more important is how he pitches from here on in, how he "gets up after getting knocked down. I've got knocked down a little bit more this year than I did last year, but it's all part of learning, it's all part of baseball, and nobody said it was going to be easy."
His poor performance Wednesday comes at a bad time, taxing a bullpen at a time when it needs tax relief because of the unknown quantity of the other starters now available.
"I think everyone would sign up for either years or long stretches where, no matter what sign is put down, you execute every pitch," manager John Farrell said. "But these are people. They're humans, and they're not robots. The fact is that some guys get into a groove at given points in the year and they carry it for a while. In Ricky's case, he has had to work for it. But he's kept us in every game that he's started, and he's pitched deep into games to get the wins, and we've supported him with a lot of run support."
But not Wednesday.