Thursday, October 17, 2013

The aces are falling

Adam Wainwright shut down the Pirates to clinch the
Division series for St. Louis, but he couldn't beat the
Dodgers in Game Three of the NLCS.
Aces ruled in the four Division Series. In the two League Championship Series, not so much.

There have been nine games played so far (five in the NLCS, four in the ALCS), which means there have been 18 starts. Six of those starts have been made by pitchers who have won Cy Young Awards (Zach Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Jake Peavy, Justin Verlander) or who are about to (Max Scherzer). Peavy, whose Cy dates to 2007, isn't what he once was, but even if we leave him out there's Adam Wainwright, who hasn't won the award but has had three seasons in which he could have. None of those starts have been against each other.

Greinke, Kershaw, Scherzer, Verlander, Wainwright. An impressive set of pitchers there. And their teams have gone 1-5 in their starts. The Dodgers got a win out of Greinke's start Wednesday. If you want to include Peavy, the teams are 1-6 with the big gun arms. If you want to include Jon Lester, the best of the Red Sox rotation — a fine pitcher but not quite on the level of the five names who led this paragraph — the teams are 1-7.

It isn't that the aces have pitched poorly. Verlander and Scherzer allowed just one run each, but the Tigers got shut out in Verlander's start and their bullpen imploded in Scherzer's. Kershaw (one run allowed) and Wainwright (two runs) were shut out in their starts, as was Lester (one run).

It's just been two series dominated not by the established aces but by the lesser names. Greinke got the win in his second time around; we'll see if that holds for the other stars as they begin to repeat the rotation cycle.

1 comment:

  1. Shows the importance of a good bullpen. Those teams with the better 'pen, Cards and Sox, should prevail.