MLB Playoffs 2012: 10 Best Pitchers Going into This Postseason
In the last few years, pitching has become ever-more important in the postseason, with teams like the Nationals loading up on solid starters, and teams like the Reds, Cards, and Braves stocking up on bullpen pitchers.
In a season with three perfect games, pitching looks to again be important. Here are the ten best pitchers in this postseason.
10: Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees
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Hiroki Kuroda, who was 16-11 in his first season with the Bombers, was the only Yankee to finished in the top 10 in pitcher’s WAR (5.2) or top 20 in ERA (3.32) this season. After the All-Star break, Kuroda was 8-4 with a pair of shutouts.
9: Kris Medlen, Braves
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Kris Medlen started the season in the bullpen. He’s in Atlanta’s rotation now, and with good reason: Since the All-Star Break, he’s been 9-0 with a 0.94 ERA and .484 OPS allowed in 95 innings played.
8: Aroldis Chapman, Reds
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The high-heat throwing Aroldis Chapman had more strikeouts in relief (122) than any other pitcher, also recording 38 saves, 6 holds and 5 relief wins.
Chapman notched a 1.51 ERA over the season, but it ballooned to 6.97 in June and 4.05 in September. Chapman only allowed a .108 batting average against lefties over the season.
7: Craig Kimbrel, Braves
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With no Mo for the postseason, the mantle of best closer falls to Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel is one of two relievers in the majors with 100 Ks, amounting to an insane 16.66 Ks per nine innings. The other one (Chapman) doesn’t have 42 saves or a sub-1.10 ERA.
6: Max Scherzer, Tigers
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5: Matt Harrison, Rangers
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Matt Harrison is fourth in the majors in pitchers’ WAR on the season, a season where he was sixth in the majors in wins with 18. Harrison also finished in the top 20 in ERA on the season.
4: Matt Cain, Giants
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Matt Cain is sixth in ERA (2.79); third among pitchers in the playoffs. He also leads all playoff pitchers in WHIP. He’s won sixteen games (including a perfect one), and logged 21 quality starts and 193 strikeouts.
3: Johnny Cueto, Reds
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Johnny Cueto finished in the top five in ERA, second among playoff pitchers behind Verlander. He was also fifth in pitcher’s WAR, third among playoff pitchers, and notched 19 victories.
2: Gio Gonzalez, Nationals
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Gio Gonzalez is the only man in the majors to win 21 games, and has the lowest OPS allowed of starting pitchers. He’s also in the top dozen in the majors in strikeouts, ERA, WAR, WHIP and quality starts.
1: Justin Verlander, Tigers
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The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner returns to the playoffs for the second straight year. Justin Verlander led the majors in strikeouts and WAR while having the best ERA and most quality starts of anyone in the playoffs.