Romine is regularly raking in Tigers' lineup
CLEVELAND -- Andrew Romine has a Yankees catching prospect for a brother, and a seven-year Major Leaguer for a father. He is about to become the preeminent power hitter in the family.
When his third-inning drive in the Tigers' 7-3 win over the Indians on Tuesday night carried into the seats at Progressive Field, somewhat to his surprise, he had his fourth Major League home run in his 214th big league game. His dad, Kevin Romine, hit five out in 331 games with the Red Sox.
Add in Austin Romine's one big league homer, and the Romine kids have dad matched.
"Forget that," Andrew joked. "I want the record by myself."
The way Romine is hitting lately, he could get it soon.
Romine has started four straight games -- the first three at third base in place of Nick Castellanos, then Tuesday with an off-day for shortstop Jose Iglesias. Romine is 5-for-16 with two homers and two doubles and four runs scored in that stretch. If he starts Wednesday's series finale, it'll be his longest stretch in the lineup since he started five straight games in mid-September last season.
Romine had a secure spot back then, sharing the shortstop position with Eugenio Suarez. As Detroit's main utility infielder, Romine has to take what he can get. The way he's hitting is making it difficult for manager Brad Ausmus to sit him.
At the moment, Romine is feeding off momentum. The more regular at-bats he gets, the better he seems to see the ball. But he knows better than to risk the momentum by saying he's comfortable at the plate.
"I would never say I'm comfortable hitting guys in the big leagues," Romine said. "That's a way to get the baseball gods mad at you."
That said, Romine also knows seeing live pitching is making a huge difference for him. While Don Kelly made an art out of staying fresh with limited looks at live pitching, Romine is still getting used to it.
"I think that getting a lot more at-bats in a row on a daily basis is key to getting locked in," Romine said. "It's really difficult to replicate live ABs when you don't get to face a live pitcher. You try to hit off a machine, but there's no live arm involved in that. You try to hit off coaches that are throwing to you, but they're only a short distance away and they're not throwing 97. It's tough. You just try to find drills."
There is no machine, however, to simulate Danny Salazar.
"There's no machine that simulates a dirty splitter," Romine joked. "That's why I jumped on his first fastball."
That's what Romine did on the home run. He sent Salazar's first-pitch 93-mph heater to right leading off the third inning, then got Salazar in a fastball situation with a 2-0 count leading off the fifth. Romine doubled that one to left.
The homer opened the scoring. Yet the double might have been the bigger hit, starting a six-run rally after Salazar had struck out the side with a runner on in the previous inning.
"That was the difference between him settling in and him getting behind on hitters and us getting some runners going," Romine said.