Two weeks ago I analyzed the starting pitchers in the American League and attempted to rank the top 15. At the time, I ranked Ricky Romero 6th and Andy Pettitte 11th, which given the cutoff for making the All-Star team would have earned Romero his first appearance and denied Pettitte his 3rd appearance of his long career. At some point next week I will reexamine the AL pitchers, as well as the hitters, and pick an entire AL All-Star team. Today, Romero and Pettitte will make their next-to-last start of the first half and attempt to add to their stellar first half resume.
Ricky Romero is in the midst of a Cy Young-type year. Over 111 innings he has an ERA of 2.83, striking out 103 (8.33/9 IP) and walking 41 (3.31/9 IP). Romero’s FIP and xFIP are only slightly higher than his ERA; his peripherals suggest he’s been slightly lucky and his BABIP and HR/FB% are a touch low, but it’s hardly worth mentioning. Romero is just flat good, mixing five pitches to keep hitters off balance. He throws a fastball, cutter, changeup, slider and curve, and each one of them has generated positive value, according to Fangraphs Pitch Type Value. When analyzed over 100 pitches, his slider and changeup lead the pack.
Despite what you’d expect, Romero had a substantial reverse platoon split in 2009, holding righties to a .278/.373/.377 line. Lefties hit him considerably harder: .297/.348/.531. However, in 2010 the split has lessened considerably. He’s holding righties to a .234/.314/.328 line while lefties are hitting .245/.310/.368. It’s nothing sizable either way, so there’s no reason to attempt to stack the lineup with platoon players.
Romero will be a tough customer for the Yankees. He isn’t one to waste pitches, averaging the 12th lowest pitches per inning of any major league starter with 14.9 (Cliff Lee leads the way with 13.7) and so the team will need to be aggressive, rather than wait for him to walk his way out of the game. Romero is far better at home rather than away, averaging a .500 OPS against in Toronto and .785 OPS against everywhere else, so hopefully the Yankees can take advantage. They’ve lost 3 of their last four, and their lead in the AL East has tightened considerably. Enough already with the losing.
I’ll be at the game today, so hit me up on here if you want to say hi. Go Yanks.
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