MLB Playoff Predictions 2012: Pitchers That Will Dominate
The MLB playoffs are all about great pitching. If you have a great pitcher or two, you are a force to be reckoned with.
There have been plenty of great pitching performances this year, with perfect games and no-hitters. But in the playoffs, you don't need to throw a no-hitter. Consistent domination is the calling card.
Here are a few pitchers who will dominate the competition in October.
Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
Aroldis Chapman has had just a terrific season. As the Reds closer, he has a minuscule 1.55 ERA. The most remarkable stat is the 119 strikeouts in almost 70 innings.
Combine that with the fact he only has 21 walks, and Chapman may very well be the best closer in the game.
With his high-powered fastball, Chapman makes it tough on hitters. He is poised to continue his great season into the playoffs.
The Reds have been one of the better teams in the league this year, and Chapman has been a big reason why. Expect him to continue mowing down hitters in October.
Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
Gio Gonzalez has been one of the driving forces behind the surprising Nats this year. The lefty is 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA and 207 strikeouts. He's one of the top Cy Young contenders.
The Nats will need Gonzalez to continue his great season into the playoffs. They don't have Stephen Strasburg anymore, and in the playoffs, it all comes down to your ace.
Right now, that's Gonzalez.
There's no reason to think that Gonzalez will perform poorly in the postseason; if anything, this year's performance shows what a big-time pitcher he is.
Matt Harrison, Texas Rangers
Harrison has had a great year for the Rangers. He's 18-10 with a 3.26 ERA and 128 strikeouts.
Harrison is not the No. 1 starter—or even the No. 2 starter. But as the third guy in the rotation, he'll be pitching in a lot of pivotal games, even some Game 7s. The Rangers will need him to step up.
And he should. Harrison hasn't had too many clunkers. He's among the ERA leaders and gives up less than a hit per inning. He also has good control, with only 58 walks.
He may not be on everyone's radar, but look for Harrison to have a good October.
Rafael Soriano, New York Yankees
Soriano had the unenviable task of taking over for Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time. But he's done a really good job.
Soriano has 42 saves with a 2.07 ERA and 67 strikeouts. He's only blown four saves. He pitches in high-pressure situations and constantly delivers.
October won't be too much of a departure from his games in New York; if anything, he'll be under the microscope more. But Soriano has shown he can handle it. With a high-octane fastball, look for him to come up big when it matters most.
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