Power Ranking the 10 Best Potential Postseason Pitching Matchups
The MLB playoffs are just two weeks away, and we're already looking forward to the great pitching matchups.
Often times we see postseason games be decided by two aces, and it wouldn't be surprising to see that happen a few more times this year.
Of all the head-to-head pitching matchups we could see this October, these are the top 10 that we are hoping for the most.
10. Julio Teheran vs. Shelby Miller
Julio Teheran and Shelby Miller are two of the best rookies who will be on display this postseason.
After posting an ERA of 7.31 in his first starts of the year, Teheran has now become the ace for the NL's best team. He has had an ERA of 2.56 since those first three starts, going 12-8 so far in his rookie campaign.
Teheran could potentially face off with another fantastic rookie in Miller, whose ERA has been around the 3.00-mark for much of the year.
Miller's pure power allows him to throw his pitches in the zone and dare batters to make contact.
While these two likely won't meet before the NLCS, it is possible that the first series for these two teams throws off their rotations, forcing Teheran and Miller to square off.
9. Matt Garza vs. David Price
Matt Garza is now with the Texas Rangers, but he might have to face his former team (Tampa Bay Rays) in the AL Wild Card game.
Garza could be forced to pitch against his former teammate, David Price, as well. The two were teammates from 2008 to 2010, but now Garza is the enemy.
Garza and Price have both struggled a bit this year, posting numbers that are below the lofty expectations for the two. However, the may be forced to pitch against each other if their respective teams are forced to throw them on the mound in the Wild Card game.
Odds are that we won't see Garza pitch against the Rays, as he isn't the Rangers' ace. However, on the off chance that these two teams meet, it would be awesome to see Garza and Price face off.
8. Francisco Liriano vs. Clayton Kershaw
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates could easily meet in the NLDS if the two win their respective divisions. If the two do end up playing each other, the matchup between their aces will be absurd.
Clayton Kershaw is arguably the best pitcher in the game today, posting the lowest ERA and possessing some of the filthiest pitches in the game. He is going to be asked to do a lot as the Dodgers look for a World Series ring.
Kershaw would potentially be opposed by Francisco Liriano, who is finally pitching up to his potential. He is 16-7 with an ERA of 2.92, and has been pitching like a true ace for the Bucs this year. The Pirates haven't been in the postseason in two decades, and they'll look to Liriano to get them off to a fast start.
Kershaw and Liriano might not have any history together, but seeing these two legitimate aces face off for teams that have so much on the line would be spectacular.
7. Clay Buchholz vs. Matt Moore
The Boston Red Sox have the best record in baseball, and will likely face the winner of the AL Wild Card game. The winner of that game could easily be one of Boston's AL East rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays.
If the Rays win the Wild Card game, they will play the Red Sox, and will likely start Matt Moore.
Moore has gone 15-3 this season, racking up win after win with Tampa Bay's offense behind him. However, he will be opposed by Boston's ace, Clay Buchholz.
Buchholz is 11-0 with an ERA of 1.51, and he could be running away with the AL Cy Young if he hadn't gotten injured earlier this season.
These two pitchers are two of the winningest in the game today, and they would create a sensational pitching matchup.
6. Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Shelby Miller
If the Dodgers and Cardinals meet in the playoffs, we could see a matchup featuring two of the favorites for NL Rookie of the Year.
Hyun-Jin Ryu and Shelby Miller are both competing for the award, and could also face off against one another in the playoffs.
Since neither guy is the first starter on their team, its possible that these two match up in the second or third game of a series between L.A. and St. Louis.
While the winner of the award won't be affected by this game, it will be interesting to see which rookie gets the better of the other on the big stage.
5. Zack Greinke vs. Shelby Miller
If the Dodgers and Cardinals open up a series in the NLDS, their Game 2 pitching matchup will be fierce.
Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller are arguably the best No. 2 pitchers in baseball. Both guys have pitched like aces this year, and they would have a heated battle in their potential pitching matchup.
Greinke has been having the best season of his career, with the exception being his 2009 Cy Young campaign. He is 15-3 with a 2.75 ERA and has been baffling NL hitters.
Miller, on the other hand, has made the most of his rookie season. He's given up more than three earned runs only once outside of his paltry month of June, and he always gives the Cards a chance to win.
If the Dodgers and Cards meet up we will see some fantastic pitching matchups, but this isn't even the best from that series.
4. Yu Darvish vs. David Price
If the Rangers and Rays manage to hang on to their slim leads in the AL Wild Card race, they will likely throw Yu Darvish and David Price on the mound for the Wild Card game.
Price was once the most feared pitcher in baseball, but now you could make a case that Darvish is the most dominant pitcher today.
Last year, Price was the AL Cy Young, while Darvish was a struggling rookie, posting an ERA just below 4.00.
However, the tables have turned this year, as Darvish leads MLB in strikeouts and could have been one of the top Cy Young candidates if he had avoided injury. Price, on the other hand, has struggled this year, going 8-8 with a 3.42 ERA.
Thinking about how much things have changed this year for these two pitchers and seeing them pitch for the chance to play in the ALDS makes for a fantastic matchup.
3. Clayton Kershaw vs. Adam Wainwright
The best pitching matchup in a potential Dodgers-Cardinals series would come in Game 1 between two of the best pitchers in the game.
Clayton Kershaw has continued his dominance, leading MLB in ERA, WHIP, WAR and innings pitched among pitchers with at least 200 innings under their belts. He has made a strong case to win his second NL Cy Young award in three years, after finishing second in voting last season.
Kershaw would be opposed by arguably the best control pitcher alive today, Adam Wainwright. His 6.1 K/BB ratio shows just how good his control is, as he paints the corners.
A pitching matchup between Kershaw and Wainwright could be decided by a single run, and seeing these two battle to get their respective teams off to a fast start would be incredible.
2. Max Scherzer vs. Bartolo Colon
Bartolo Colon is in the midst of arguably the best season of his career (even better than his 2005 Cy Young campaign). He is 16-6 with a 2.73 ERA, and has been dominant for the Oakland Athletics.
Colon may face off with Max Scherzer, who leads MLB in wins this season with 19. The two will both start the postseason for their teams, and they could meet in the ALDS this year.
To see two guys who have struggled in recent years suddenly turn it on is rare. However, Scherzer never posted an ERA below 3.50 in a full season before this year (19-3, 2.95 ERA), while Colon hadn't posted an ERA below 3.00 in over a decade before this season.
These guys have emerged as aces this year, and it would be interesting to watch them square off in the postseason.
1. Clayton Kershaw vs. Clay Buchholz
The two best pitchers in this postseason will be Clayton Kershaw and Clay Buchholz.
Kershaw has made a great case to win another Cy Young award, while Buchholz could be running away with the AL Cy Young award if he had been healthy all season.
These two guys both have microscopic ERAs below 2.00, and have been on fire all year.
Buchholz bounced back from his injury and has been even better than before, throwing 11 scoreless innings. Kershaw, on the other hand, has been untouchable for these past five-and-a-half months.
If these two meet it will be during the World Series, as the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers fight for a ring. We'd likely see them twice, and those two games would be the best pitching matchups possible.
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