MLB Power Ranking: The Top 10 Postseason Pitchers Available

Mathew DavisContributor IOctober 20, 2010

MLB Power Ranking: The Top 10 Postseason Pitchers Available

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18:  Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout at the end of the top of the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers in Game Three of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2010 i
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The four teams vying for World Series berths have one thing in common: They each have (at least) one of the greatest pitchers in recent postseason history.

    Some are already postseason legends, while others are just beginning to etch their place in history.

    The Giants-Phillies series has elicited the most reaction regarding sheer pitching prowess, but the other teams possess two of the top postseason pitchers of all time. 

    Many great pitchers buckle under the pressure of the playoff atmosphere, these guys feed off of it. 

    Here are the top 10 postseason pitchers available...

10. Jose Contreras

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    ST. LOUIS - JULY 20: Relief pitcher Jose Contreras #52 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on July 20, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Contreras makes the list based on his performance in the 2005 postseason when he was pitching for the Chicago White Sox. In four starts he amassed 32 innings, one complete game, three wins and had a 3.09 ERA while walking only two. The White Sox went on to capture their third World Series title.

    Career postseason statistics: 4-3 with a 3.72 ERA.

9. Roy Halladay

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 16:  Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game One of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 16, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylv
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    He's a surefire Hall of Famer, is in line to win his second Cy Young Award and pitched one of the greatest games in postseason history. But a pitcher is only as good as his most recent outing, and against the Giants, Halladay was sub par.

    Career postseason statistics: 1-1, 15 K's, and a 2.25 ERA

8. Matt Cain

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 19:  Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh inning of Game Three of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 19, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (
    Harry How/Getty Images

    The still relatively unknown Cain has been stellar in his first two career postseason starts. Perhaps offended by manager Bruce Bochy's decision to start Jonathan Sanchez over him in Game 2, Cain tore through the Phillies lineup Tuesday, giving up only two hits in seven scoreless innings. Against the Braves he went 6 2/3 innings, yielding one unearned run.

    Career postseason statistics: 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA.

7. Roy Oswalt

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17:  Pitcher Roy Oswalt #44 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game Two of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 17, 2010 in Philadelphia, P
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Oswalt recently capped off one of his best postseason performances Sunday against the Giants. In eight innings he surrendered only one run and struck out nine. In 2005 Oswalt was awarded the NLCS MVP as a member of the Houston Astros.

    Career postseason statistics: 5-0 with a 3.47 ERA.

6. Tim Lincecum

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 16:  Pitcher Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants reacts against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game One of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 16, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    "The Freak" followed his 14-strikeout, complete-game masterpiece against the Braves by keeping the Phillies' bats at bay and outperforming Halladay. He went seven innings, gave up three runs and struck out eight.

    Career postseason statistics: 2-0, 22 K's and a 1.69 ERA.

5. Brad Lidge

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 16:  Brad Lidge #54 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game One of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 16, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvan
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    With all the big pitching names in the Giants-Phillies series, Lidge is somewhat of afterthought. Given his postseason resume, it's hard to see why. In 2008, Lidge was instrumental to Philadelphia's playoff run and finished with seven saves and a 0.96 ERA. In 2004, as a member of the Astros, he had 20 K's in 12 1/3 innings and a 0.73 ERA. 

    Career postseason statistics: 17 saves, 58 K's and a 2.40 ERA.

4. Cole Hamels

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 10: Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers the ball against the Cincinnati Reds on his way to a complete game shut-out during game 3 of the NLDS at Great American Ball Park on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The P
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Even though he was outdueled by Cain in Tuesday's loss to the Giants, when Philadelphia made its World Series run in 2008, Hamels had one of the best postseasons in recent baseball history. In five starts for the Phils, he pitched 35 innings, was 4-0 and had a 1.80 ERA with 30 K's. He won the NLCS and World Series MVPs that year.

    Career postseason statistics: 6-4 with a 3.83 ERA.

3. Andy Pettitte

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18:  Starting pitcher Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees gets set to throw a pitch against the Texas Rangers in Game Three of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2010 in New York, New York.  (Ph
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Pettitte is one of those players that relishes the postseason spotlight. He's fiercely competitive and will do whatever he can to help his team win. In 2003, Pettitte had his most efficient playoff run, racking up three wins with a 2.10 ERA. He's had seven postseasons with at least two wins and in 2001 he was awarded the ALCS MVP.

    Career postseason statistics: 19-10 with a 3.83 ERA.

2. Cliff Lee

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18:  Cliff Lee #33 of the Texas Rangers throws a pitch against the New York Yankees in Game Three of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2010 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    In just two postseasons, Cliff Lee has cemented himself as one of the top playoff pitchers of all time. This October, Lee has averaged eight innings pitched, over 11 K's and a ridiculous 0.75 ERA in three starts, all resulting in wins. In 2009, he averaged just over eight innings pitched, over 8 K's, two complete games and 1.56 ERA in five starts, with four wins.

    Career postseason statistics: 7-0, 67 K's and a 1.26 ERA.  

1. Mariano Rivera

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    NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09:  Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during Game Three of the ALDS part of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 9, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo b
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Even at 40, Rivera is the last person opposing teams want to see coming out of the bullpen, especially in the postseason. As great as the Yankees closer has been throughout his regular-season career, when the playoffs begin, the guy is virtually unhittable. He holds postseason records for saves and ERA. In 1999 he was named the World Series MVP and was also awarded the 2003 ALCS MVP.

    Career postseason statistics: 42 saves, 109 K's and a 0.72 ERA.

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