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MLB Playoffs: The Top 20 "Big 3" Pitching Rotations in Postseason History

Rob OgdenContributor IOctober 19, 2010

In honor of the Phillies' dynamic combination of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels at the top of their rotation this postseason, here are the top 20 "big three" pitching rotations in postseason history. 

20. 2001 Diamondbacks: Curt Schilling (22-6, 2.98), Randy Johnson (21-6, 2.49), Brian Anderson (4-9 5.20 ERA)

More like a big two rather than a big three, but the dominance from Schilling and Johnson makes up for the lack of from Anderson. 

19. 1939 Yankees: Red Ruffing (21-7, 2.93), Lefty Gomez (12-8, 3.41), Bump Hadley (12-6, 2.98)

Joe DiMaggio batted .381, but their pitching staff wasn't bad either. These three led the Yankees to a four-game sweep over the Reds in the World Series. 

18. 1945 Chicago Cubs: Hank Wyse (22-10, 2.68), Claude Passeau (17-9, 2.46), Paul Derringer (16-11, 3.45) 

1945 was the last year the Cubs won the pennant. Unless they get players that can pitch like these three again, it may be their last ever. 

17. 2003 A's: Barry Zito (14-12, 3.30), Tim Hudson (16-7, 2.70) Mark Mulder (15-9, 3.13)

The A's turned these three guys from three no-names into three household names. 

16. 1944 St. Louis Cardinals: Mort Cooper (22-7, 2.46 ERA), Max Lanier (17-12, 2.65), Ted Wilks (17-4, 2.64)

The Cardinals beat the Browns in six games in the World Series as their pitching staff kept runs at a premium, allowing 26 percent less runs than the league average. That is good enough for third best ever. 

152002 Braves: Tom Glavine (18-11, 2.96), Greg Maddux (16-6, 2.62), Kevin Millwood (18-8, 3.24)

Glavine and Maddux were the cornerstone for many phenomenal Atlanta staffs in the 1990's and early 2000's. Millwood filled in nicely at No. 3 this year. 

141988 Mets: David Cone (20-3, 2.22), Dwight Gooden (18-9, 3.19), Ron Darling (17-9, 3.25)

The Mets rode their pitching to Game 7 of the NLCS after winning the NL East but came up short to the Dodgers. 

13. 1954 Braves: Warren Spahn (21-12, 3.14), Lew Burdette (15-14, 2.76), Gene Conley (14-9, 2.96)

The year Hank Aaron made his big league debut, these pitchers were dominating opposing batters.

12. 1929 A's: Lefty Grove (20-6, 2.82), George Earnshaw (24-8, 2.82), Rube Walberg (18-11, 3.59)

The A's finished with 104 wins and beat the Cubs in the World Series. 

11. 2010 Phillies: Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44), Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.76), Cole Hamels (12-11, 3.06) 

Halladay became the second pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter in postseason history. Perhaps the best pitching staff of the 21st century, the Phillies are looking for their third straight pennant. 

10. 1972 A's: Ken Holtzman (19-11, 2.51), Catfish Hunter (21-7, 2.04), Blue Moon Odom (15-6, 2.50)

All four of the A's World Series wins over the Reds in 1972 were decided by a single run. This pitching staff was the reason Oakland was able to hold on and win in seven games. 

9. 1964 Chicago White Sox: Gary Peters(20-8, 2.50), Juan Pizarro (19-9, 2.56), Joe Horlen (13-9, 1.88)

These three finished 2-3-5 in ERA and all received votes for AL MVP. 

8. 1927 New York Yankees: Waite Hoyt (22-7, 2.63), Urban Shocker (18-6, 2.84), Herb Pennock (19-8, 3.00)

They were known for their big bats, but the reason they are often considered the greatest team of all time is because they had the pitching to back up their hitting. 

7. 1954 New York Giants: Johnny Antonelli (21-7, 2.30), Ruben Gomez (17-9, 2.88), Sal Maglie(14-6, 3.26)

Willie Mays' catch stole the show in the World Series, but the Giants pitching is what put them over the top. 

6. 1954 Cleveland Indians: Early Wynn (23-11, 2.73), Mike Garcia (19-8, 2.64), Bob Lemon (23-7, 2.72) 

The Indians won 111 games and these three finished 1-3-4 in ERA. 

5. 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers: Sandy Koufax (27-9, 1.73), Don Drysdale (13-16, 3.42), Claude Osteen (17-14, 2.85) 

Koufax and Drysdale are in Cooperstown, and Koufax's 27 wins may never again be reached by any player. 

4. 1986 New York Mets: Ron Darling (15-6, 2.81), Dwight Gooden (17-6, 2.84), Sid Fernandez (16-6, 3.52)

Gooden and Fernandez each struck out 200+ batters while all three pitchers pitched 200+ innings. 

3. 1993 Atlanta Braves: Greg Maddux (20-10, 2.36), Tom Glavine (22-6, 3.20), Steve Avery (18-6, 2.94)

Throw in a young John Smoltz as your No. 4 starter and you've got a pretty good rotation. Maddux received the Cy Young; Glavine and Avery were both All-Stars. 

2. 1971 Baltimore Orioles: Mike Cualler (20-9, 3.08), Pat Dobson (20-8, 2.90), Jim Palmer (20-9, 2.68)

It was the only rotation since the 1920 White Sox to have four 20-game winners. 

1. 1998 Atlanta Braves: Greg Maddux (18-9, 2.22), Tom Glavine (20-6, 2.47) John Smoltz (17-3, 2.90)

The trio finished 1-3-6 in ERA. All three received votes for the AL MVP and all three were top ten in wins. 

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