In Division Series, nothing beats having three good starters
Originally Published: October 1, 2008By Rob Neyer | ESPN.com
As much as ever, this year's division series may feature top starting pitchers. Aces, if you will. What's an ace? For the purposes of this discussion, we'll define "ace" as any starting pitcher who throws at least 162 innings and posts an adjusted ERA (ERA+) of 115 or better. In a typical season, there will be 30 or 35 such pitchers in the major leagues. Some teams don't have any at all, some teams have two of them, and occasionally some fortunate team will feature three (or even four!) such pitchers.
You might object to the profligate use of the term "ace," but the fact is that any pitcher who makes 25 starts and posts an ERA+ of 115 or higher could be somebody's ace. A number of teams had only one ace this season, and four teams didn't finish the season with any ace at all. So don't turn up your nose at this definition until you've tried to get two or three of them for your team.