The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best four-man playoff rotation, but the Cincinnati Reds are the only team with three “Aces” in their rotations (pitchers in the top 30 at www.valueaddbaseball.com). However, the Reds’ dominant pitching at the No. 5 spot let them nudge out the Dodgers as well as the Tigers and Red Sox for the best overall starting pitching.
1. REDS 40.2 at www.valueaddbaseball.com. Mat Latos (ranked No. 5), Mike Leake (12) and Bronson Arroyo (26) have been extremely valuable despite having to pitch in a tough hitters park, with relievers and fielders that have given up a lot of runs behind them. The Reds’ fourth most valuable pitcher (Homer Bailey, 51) threw his second no-hitter, Tony Cingrani (89) has stepped in as the No. 5 pitcher – and all this is with their normal ace Johnny Cueto being on DL for the third time this year.
2. RED SOX 37.9. The acquisition of Jake Peavy (86) made them the only team with six pitchers in the top 100. The problem is in the playoffs it is more important to have a few “shut down” starters, and they have no “Aces” in the Top 30 – with Clay Buchholz (38), Felix Doubront (41), Jon Lester (48) Ryan Dempster (52) and John Lackey (71) all good but not dominant.
3. DODGERS 37.8. The Dodgers now look to have the best playoff rotation in Clayton Kershaw (2), Hyun-Jin Ryu (6), former Marlin Ricky Nolasco (27) and Zack Greinke, who is 35th despite missing several starts injured. But while the Reds have no weak starters to pull their average down, the Dodgers had five terrible starters weighing them down into last place in the first half. Stephen Fife, Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly, Josh Beckett and Matt Magill all made at least five starts for a combined 0.59 Value Add – just above what we would expect if five minor leaguers had pitched instead of them.
4.TIGERS 37.3. The Tigers have only had five pitchers start at least five games, and they are the only team with five in the top 60 in Max Scherzer (3), Justin Verlander (45), Doug Fister (46), Anibal Sanchez (53) and Rick Porcello (57).
The rest of the list based on the ratings at www.valueaddbaseball.com, which includes all pitchers who have started at least five games, are:
5 BAL 36.8
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