Our old friends at the Baseball Reference Blog ask if tomorrow night's matchup between the Rangers' Cliff Lee and the Rays' David Price is the best matchup of starters in a Game 5 of an LDS ever.
Being the Baseball Reference Blog, they give us a list of all the other Game 5 match-ups. So eyeballing it, it seemed two passed the first-glance, sniff test as being perhaps better: 2003 ALDS between Boston (Pedro Martinez) and Oakland (Barry Zito) and the 1981 NLDS between Houston (Nolan Ryan) and Los Angeles (Jerry Reuss).
Now, I didn't use the most scientific method for this, but based on a quick look, both of those were better than Tuesday's game. What I did, was just add the ERA+ for both pitchers in their respective seasons. My reasoning is that ERA+ tells you how those pitchers performed relative to the rest of their leagues that season (park adjusted) on a scale of 100 being average, so it's close to being apples to apples.
What surprised me wasn't that tomorrow's game wasn't the top score -- but how far it was behind.
Here's the three ranked:
2003 -- Martinez (211) + Zito (135) = 346
1981 -- Ryan (195) + Reuss (146) = 341
2010 -- Price (145) + Lee (130) = 275
That doesn't mean I won't be watching and it's not a good matchup, but maybe we should save some of the superlatives.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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