It took Sergio Romo 11 years in the Majors to get his first big league start. And he got his second one on Sunday.
The Rays right-hander, who started Saturday night and pitched a scoreless inning in Tampa Bay's 5-3 victory over the Angels, hurled a scoreless first inning on Sunday. After allowing a leadoff walk to Ian Kinsler, who later stole second base, Romo struck out Michael Trout and Justin Upton, then got Andrelton Simmons to ground out to third to end the first.
Romo, who faced off against rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani in the series finale, came out for the second inning and walked Zack Cozart to open the frame. He fanned Jefry Marte before he was replaced by right-hander Matt Andriese, who finished off the inning with Cozart left at first base.
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Romo joined a short list of players who have started on consecutive days in the last 40 years, including Zack Greinke and former big league hurlers Christopher Wilson, Aaron Myette, and Steve McCatty.
"It's a completely different animal," Romo said. "Kudos to all the starters that can do that every fifth day. Plus, they get asked to throw 100 pitches. I barely got a quarter of that done today. It's impressive what they do, and I can't sit here and say I can do it as well as they can. But I got two zeros in the first inning, so I think I'm OK at this point."
In addition, only three pitchers had more career relief appearances than Romo before making their first big league start: Troy Percival (638), Todd Jones (632) and Chuck McElroy (603).
For Rays manager Kevin Cash, the experiment of using a career reliever as a starter couldn't be off to a better beginning.
"It did go really, really well," Cash said of Romo's start Saturday. "He opened the game with a slider just like he was pitching the eighth or ninth inning. So, we're going back to Sergio, because it worked so well."
Romo even enjoyed the benefits associated with a starter. He was sent home early after his Saturday outing to prepare for Sunday's start.
"Sergio is pumped," Cash said after Saturday's game. "He's treated himself as a starter. He's left to get his rest and throw his one or two innings."
While making consecutive starts may have been commonplace early in the game's history, it hasn't happened in nearly six years. The most recent occurrence was in 2012, when both Greinke and Wilson each started successive games.
Greinke was ejected in his start on July 7, 2012, after throwing four pitches against the Astros. He returned the next night and allowed three runs in three innings.
Greinke started the next Brewers game as well, but that was because it came after the All-Star break. Still, with the back-to-back-to-back starts, he became the first pitcher to start three consecutive games in a season since Red Faber in 1917.
Weather was the factor for Wilson's feat. He started for the Angels against the Rangers on May 11, 2012. But his start was cut short by a two-hour rain delay. He faced only five batters before departing after the delay. He took the mound the following game and threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits.
Myette accomplished the feat with the Rangers in 2002. He faced a similar situation as Greinke. He was ejected after two pitches against the Orioles on Sept. 3, and came back the next game.
McCatty was a member of the A's when he started two straight games in 1980, and his path to pitching the beginning of successive games most resembles Romo's outing, as he threw an inning in his first outing and then started the next day.