A new class of young guns and two potential problems for the Phillies
1) It's official: Young pitchers have taken back the game. A down cycle of starting pitchers has turned upward. An ERA that begins with a 2 no longer is an oddity.
This season, 12 pitchers have posted an ERA better than 3.00 -- the most since 1997. Among those 12 pitchers, six are 25-and-under -- the most such young guns since 1992, and as many in the final eight years combined before baseball agreed to a steroid testing program in 2002.
The sub-3 young guns this year are
Here are the numbers this decade of pitchers with a sub-3 ERA and how many of them were 25-and-under:
By the way,
Here's how it works if Philadelphia draws Colorado in the first round. The Phillies should start three left-handers against the Rockies, who are 66-43 against right-handed starters but just 25-25 against lefties.
But Romero is still suffering from a forearm strain, so manager
So far the news on Romero has not been good for the Phillies. He showed decreased velocity and arm speed when he threw 21 pitches against Houston on Sept. 28. The Phillies had him throw a bullpen session before their game on Thursday night to get another look, and it did not go well. He will have his arm re-examined, and appears to be doubtful for the postseason.
3) Don't expect much offense in a Phillies-Rockies series. The way the playoff matchups stand as of Friday, the Phillies are likely to get two 3:07 p.m. starts to open the NLDS next week. (Hard to imagine the Yankees will get the daytime slot on Wednesday, or the Angels or Dodgers, which would mean a noon start local time, getting it on Thursday.) That means shadows and rough lighting conditions.
The Phillies have hosted three 3:07 p.m. postseason starts in the previous two seasons. In those three games the Phillies and their opponents, the Rockies in 2007 and the Brewers last year, combined to hit .203 with 55 strikeouts in 53 innings. So how do you hit
The start times are reminiscent of what used to happen to the Astros' Killer B teams. Never a prime-time draw, they wound up getting many a late afternoon postseason start against some of the NL's best pitching staffs. And