Pitching wins championships. It’s a phrase that has been uttered so many times throughout the game of baseball. The San Francisco Giants in 2010 were the perfect example of great pitching can sometimes out weight not having a powerhouse offense.
With the postseason just weeks away, playoff races are heating up and fans can now see potential match-ups that may take place come October.
Lets take a look at the five best rotations for the playoffs. To be on the list, the team just has to be in contention for a playoff spot. The team does not have to currently be in a playoff to make the list.
1. Washington Nationals: Even minus Stephen Strasburg this rotation is the best in baseball. The highest ERA in the rotation belongs to Edwin Jackson, and he has a 3.85 ERA. That speaks volumes about how good the Nationals rotation has been. Whether it’s been Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, or Ross Detewiler; the Nationals just pitch and are going to provide whoever they play in the postseason a tough time trying to score.
2. Tampa Bay Rays: Lead by one of the best left handed pitchers in baseball, the Rays rotation ranks among the best in baseball. David Price has had an outstanding year, going 18-5 with a 2.54 ERA. Price has been complimented nicely by James Shields who has had a solid season by winning 14 games and having a sub 3.80 ERA. Jeremy Hellickson has had a great sophomore year posting a 8-10 record with a 3.22 ERA. Matt Moore after starting out kind of shaky has put up a nice season, too. Whatever the Rays lack in offense, they more than make up for it with this staff.
3. Oakland A’s: How Billy Beane finds all this pitching and puts teams together with nothing is beyond me. The A’s have shocked the world this year. They were supposed to finish towards the bottom of the AL West, yet, find themselves in second place. Pitching has been a big reason why. The A’s will not have their ace Brandon McCarthy if they make the postseason because he was struck in the head by a line drive. But still, they have great depth behind him.
Tommy Milone, Travis Blackley, and rookie sensation Jarrod Parker have all put up great numbers this season. Another rookie, A.J. Griffin has come up from the minors and has owned the American league. In his first 11 starts, Griffin owns a 6-0 record and a 1.94 ERA. The A’s continue to surprise, but if they make a run in the postseason, it should not surprise anyone with their great staff.
4. Detroit Tigers: Having the reigning MVP and Cy Young at the top of your rotation never hurts, but unlike last year Justin Verlander has had a nice supporting cast. Max Scherzer has been the biggest surprise of the Tigers’ rotation. Scherzer has struck out the most batters in the big leagues, while striking out a league leading 11.5 batters per-nine. Scherzer also has posted up a 16-6 record and a 3.77 ERA. Doug Fister has faced a few stints on the DL, but has put together a great season in his first full year as a Tiger.
Fister is 9-8 with a 3.49 ERA, and has a 2.49 ERA in the second half this season. Although Anibal Sanchez’s ERA is a bit high (4.02), he has put together some great starts his last five times out. In that time span Sanchez is 2-3 with a 1.60 ERA. With four solid starters, the Tigers have a solid rotation if they make the postseason. If only their offense would score runs consistently.
5. Cincinnati Reds: Johnny Cueto has been one of the best pitchers in the game of baseball this year. But the Reds’ rotation has had great bounce back year from how bad it was last year. Mat Latos has pitched well, posting a 12-4 record with a 3.74 ERA. Homer Bailey and Bronson Arroyo have also done their part to help the Reds run away with the NL central. The Reds also possess one of the best bullpens in the game of baseball. When you give the Reds a lead, it might be hard to get it back at any point in the game.
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