Clayton Kershaw-Zack Greinke Is Now MLB's Best Pitching Duo

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIAugust 22, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 15:  Zack Greinke #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is greeted in the dugout by Clayton Kershaw#22 after being relieved in the sixth inning of the game against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on May 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Don't look now, but the Los Angeles Dodgers large payroll is actually getting them somewhere.

After another dominant performance by Clayton Kershaw on Thursday, it's safe to say the Kershaw-Zack Greinke combination could be the best in baseball.

Kershaw gave up five hits, no runs and struck out six in a win over the Miami Marlins.

While shutting out the Marlins is nothing to be in awe over, Kershaw has been dominating opponents all year. He currently carries a 1.72 ERA and has only given up three or more runs in six of his 27 starts.

Then there's Greinke who, like Kershaw, has been dominant as of late. He currently has a 2.91 ERA, but has only given up 10 runs in his last nine starts. 

Greinke had a DL stint early in the season, and it wasn't until his last start of the first half that he began pitching like we knew he could.

With that said, how do Greinke and Kershaw stack up against the other top duos in baseball?


The Test Group

I'll use Detroit's Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer, St. Louis' Adam Wainwright and Shelby Miller and Tampa Bay's Matt Moore and David Price as comparisons.

I could have gone for duos that are pitching great this year like Atlanta's Julio Teheran and Mike Minor, or New York's Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, but for now I'll stick with the aforementioned three duos.

So, let's look at the stats:

It's clear the numbers favor Kershaw and Greinke, but let's take this one step further.


The Playoffs

The only real reason to do a comparison like this is to look into the crystal ball for the playoffs.

Each of the aforementioned teams will likely make the playoffs. While we don't know what order and who they'll play, the stats do give us a look into what to expect come October.

For starters, which duo would you be most confident in getting you two wins to start, off the bat?

Certain teams may have better offenses behind them. But if push comes to shove and you need a pitcher to give up one or no runs, who would you want taking the hill?

Sanchez and Scherzer have been great, but have only given up one or no runs 19 times, while the Dodgers' duo has done it 27 times. St. Louis' combo has also done it 19 times, while Moore and Price have combined to do it 18 times.

And let's not forget to mention Moore is currently on the DL with an elbow injury. How would that affect the playoffs?


Bottom Line

In the end, it comes down to which duo you are more confident in shutting down the opposing team's offense.

While Kershaw and Greinke have done their damage to mostly NL competition, it's not a stretch to say they could do the same against any AL team.

Of course, it's baseball and anything can happen. A ground ball could take a funny hop or a fielder could misplay the ball to create all sorts of trouble.

Aside from that fact, if I need two pitchers to get me a 2-0 lead in a playoff series, I'm going with Kershaw and Greinke. They're two of the best pitchers in the game and are showing why this year.