Why I Sat Superstar Hurler Ricky Romero This WeekJune 3rd, 2010 by Chris Liss in Uncategorized
Eric thought this was a curious decision and asked me to write about it. The short answer is that it was a gut call.
The longer answer is that based on the matchups, I felt I had five choices:
Jake Westbrook: @DET, @CHI, vs. WAS
Brett Cecil vs. NYY, @TB
Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. OAK, @CLE, vs. WAS
Doug Fister vs. ANA, @TEX
Romero vs. NYY, @COL
While I wish I had the foresight to have benched the execrable Gavin Floyd, it was between the above pitchers. I also considered sitting two of them and taking a zero.
Westbrook had three starts and not terrible match-ups, so I crossed him off, though until he shows more consistent command to go along with his extreme ground ball rate, he’s always a candidate to be benched. Daisuke – same thing – three starts, decent matchups, command problems. Then there’s Fister – smoke and mirrors – or excellent, command, ballpark, defense? Maybe a little of both, but I didn’t like the @Texas game. So I traded him as part of the Brett Anderson deal. (Yes, I know he’s hurt, and yes, I am *very* bitter about that).
So it came down to the two best pitchers in the history of the league – Ricky Romero or Brett Cecil. Cecil, aside from a two-inning, eight-run outing, has been outstanding and has excellent command. But Romero is the better pitcher with the heavy ground ball rate and strikes out more than a batter per inning. Both have only two starts, and both are terrible matchups. But Romero’s are even worse because while they both face the Yankees (who destroy lefties – .863 OPS), Cecil is @TB who struggles against lefties (6.99) and who have scored more runs than their OBP and SLG would warrant, i.e., they’ve been a bit lucky. Moreover, Cecil faces Wade Davis, the Rays’ weakest starter, boosting his chances for a win – assuming he gets out of the fifth inning, of course. While Romero is @COL (.840 team OPS at home) AND squares off against Ubaldo Jimenez (at least if everyone takes his scheduled turn). That makes a win less likely.
But really it’s just a gut call. I looked up the Yanks’ splits against lefties, the Rockies’ home/road splits, the Rays’ splits against lefties, considered the standings regarding wins, Ks, ERA and WHIP, etc., and my instinct was to sit Romero. I submitted my lineup, and I even re-drafted the email with Cecil out and Romero in, but making that change didn’t feel right. Something told me to leave it alone. Maybe it’s superstition, or maybe it’s because my brain has computed the data and/or observed a pattern unbeknownst to my conscious mind. Either way, I made the call and will see what happens.
If we had one-week periods (like any sane league) I would have sat Cecil this week vs. the Yanks and then sat Romero next week @COL. But that wasn’t an option. And Cecil draws Burnett (TOR crushes righties) and Romero draws Pettitte (lefties crush Toronto), so even this week is close.