The final game of the regular season with a playoff birth on the line. Game Five of the LDS, Game Seven of the LCS, Game seven of the World Series—Who would you want on the bump if your team was in one of these games?
Troughout baseball history, money pitchers have garnered the adoration of their home fans and the respect of all fans. Some became so notorious we refer to them with one word names; Koufax, Gibson and Whitey to name a few.
Can we find ten starters in 2009 that deserve to be called "money" pitchers? Let's give it a try. And yes, with this kind of subjectivity, your objections, rebuttals, and substitutions are very welcome.
I'm going with mine from worst best to best best
10. Roy Oswalt
Houston's long time ace continues to show dominant "stuff" despite his diminutive frame. This cool customer always seems up to the challenge. The question is will he get any more big game opportunities?
9. Justin Verlander
After a 10-and-17 record in '08 and a rocky start to '09, Verlander is back.
With most outings reaching double-digit strikeouts and near triple-digit radar readings, any team would love to ride this horse.
8. John Lackey
Lackey burst on the "money" scene by winning Game Seven of the '02 World Series as a rookie with the Angels. Since then, he has anchored one of the better teams in baseball.
7. Chris Carpenter
This selection may create debate due to Carpenter's health history. But this true ace already has one ring ('06), one Cy Young ('05), and has simply dominated since getting back on the hill.
6. Tim Lincecum
I know, this baby has yet to see a big game. The defending Cy Young winner would strike fear in any opposition if the money was on the line.
5. C.C. Sabathia
Some would point to Sabathia's post-season games and say he doesn't belong here. Don't forget his performance in September of last year when he put the Brewers on his shoulders and carried them to the post-season.
4. Cole Hamels
Hamels may be a little high on this list, but to the victor goes the spoils and this young ace is fresh in the mind.
3. Johan Santana
Many believe Santana is the best in the game. It's hard to argue. His stuff and his competitiveness are great. The one fear is someone else losing the big game he starts.
2. Roy Halladay
At 32, Halladay has never started a big money game. If he gets the chance, you can bet he won't only start that game, he'll finish it.
1. Josh Beckett
Having led the Marlins to the '03 title and the Red Sox to the '07 title, Beckett is a no-brainer for Terry Francona and a no-brainer for this list.