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Jordan Romano (Toronto Blue Jays)

Team Italy pitcher Jordan Romano poised to make Toronto Blue Jays history

At Fenway Park in Boston on August 8, 2020, Team Italy pitcher Jordan Romano was called from the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen to keep the contest against the Boston Red Sox tied 1-1 in the bottom of 8th inning. He not only chalked up his seventh consecutive hitless and scoreless inning of relief but also increased his strikeout total to 10 in the process with punchouts of Rafael Devers and Mitch Moreland. The Blue Jays scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 9th inning. In the absence of injured closer Ken Giles, Anthony Bass picked up the save in the 2-1 victory over the Red Sox.

Jordan Romano has been the most improved pitcher in the Blue Jays bullpen this year. His seven appearances and seven innings pitched without allowing a hit or run to begin a season is just one inning shy of tying Tom Henke (1985) for the franchise's all-time record. In fact, Jordan Romano is the only MLB reliever to make seven appearances this season and not allow a hit.

Jordan Romano is also one of 10 elite pitchers who has made at least seven relief appearances without allowing a run. Others on the list include Joe Kelly, Drew Pomeranz, Jake Diekman, Joakim Soria, Dylan Floro, T.J. McFarland, Evan Marshall, Gregory Soto, and Miguel Castro. Adding 10 pounds to his six-foot-four frame during the off-season has helped increase the velocity on his upper 90s mph fastball. Coupled with his new attack-the-hitter mindset on every pitch, the 27-year-old hurler is throwing his fastball more frequently up in the zone. Jordan Romano worked on his nasty slider this past winter using Rapsodo units and slow-motion footage captured with Edgertronic cameras to gain insight on his pitch. As a result, he has changed the way he grips the ball in order to throw it tighter without compromising the effectiveness of the pitch. The newly-refined slider has been his strongest weapon combatting hitters so far two weeks into the season.

Reminiscent of when he pitched a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts for Team Italy to pick up the win against home team Mexico in front of a sold-out Estadio Charros de Jalisco in the World Baseball Classic on March 9, 2017, Jordan Romano was perfect in his MLB debut with an easy 1-2-3 out inning on June 12, 2019. He had made eight straight scoreless appearances in 10.1 innings with 15 strikeouts and two walks for Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bisons prior to joining the big league club. Jordan Romano appeared in 17 MLB games and struck out 21 batters in 15.1 innings of relief during the 2019 season.

It seemed unlikely that the Blue Jays' 2014 10th-round draft pick would ever put on a Toronto uniform after being claimed in December’s Rule 5 draft by the Chicago White Sox then traded immediately to the Texas Rangers before being offered back to the Blue Jays when he did not make the club's 25-man opening day roster. Now the dominant Jordan Romano is the reliable set-up man out of the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen. Forza #Italia!

Toronto Blue Jays-Boston Red Sox Box Score (August 8, 2020)