Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Phillies activate Romero; Should he be closer?Posted by Evan Brunell
On the 28th of September, the Phillies activated J.C. Romero from the 15-day disabled list.
As a result, the left-hander has appeared in only 16.2 innings on the season, although he's been his typical National League self in that time.
Romero will never be considered a strike-thrower. His career average for BB/9 is a scintillating 5.0, although he hasn't been below 5.2 since 2004. Indeed, if you summarize his last three years, that ratio skyrockets to 6.2. (Romero spent the beginning of 2007 with the Red Sox before joining the Phillies.)
What the 33-year old has going for himself is his 7.2 K/9 rate and his obscenely high-80 percent strand rate over the last three years. Make no mistake about it: Romero is a very lucky guy who constantly puts batters on base and then shoves a dagger in their hearts. Kind of like Daisuke Matsuzaka that way.
Romero has been doing this for three years in the National League, and despite his pure, dumb luck, he keeps getting it done. That fact alone is going to make him a candidate to close games out in October.
Brad Lidge simply can't be trusted anymore, not with his 11 blown saves and 7.38 ERA. People are suggesting Ryan Madson. No, not at all. Madson has blown six saves to go along with 10 notched, which gives him a failure rate of 38 percent. Lidge is at 26 percent. The only thing Madson has going for him is the ERA at 3.18. It makes it all the more curious why he's had so many difficulties nailing saves down, but you can't trust him with even a three-run lead in the ninth inning. You just can't. He's a great eighth inning guy, but that's all he is at this point. (Read more about Ryan Madson's 'deal with the devil' in becoming a great setup man.)
The job, then, needs to fall to either Mr. Romero -- who can at least pitch himself out of trouble, something Lidge and Madson can't do -- or hope Brett Myers comes back nice and strong from straining his right latissimus muscle a couple weeks ago. Given that Myers has had difficulty getting and staying on the field the entire year, don't be surprised to see J.C. staring down Albert Pujols in the ninth inning come October.
Evan Brunell is currently editor of Fire Brand of the American League, a Red Sox blog he began in 2003. He also scores games at Fenway Park for MLB. He was the co-founder and president of MVN, an independent sports media web site.