Athlon Sports has polled 10 experts from around Major League Baseball in an effort to figure out who is the best big-game pitcher in the game. Who would they want on the mound in Game 7 of the World Series?
A first-place vote earns five points and a second-place vote earned four points — so on and so forth with a fifth-place vote earning one point. Below are the voters and results, including first-place votes and number of ballots.
Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder (and assuming everyone is perfectly healthy).
Tyler Kepner, NY Times
Andy Baggarly, AndrewBaggarly.com
Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
John Tomase, WEEI
Juan Rodriguez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun Times
Bill Plunkett, Orange County Register
C. Trent Rosencrans, Cincinnati Enquirer
Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Jack Magruder, FoxSportsArizona.com
Kershaw tops Bumgarner
Based on postseason success, it’s a bit of an upset that Clayton Kershaw gets the nod on the bump in Game 7 over Madison Bumgarner. Mad-Bum landed more first-place votes (5 to 4) over Kershaw, but the Dodgers' three-time Cy Young Award winner was the only pitcher to appear on all 10 ballots. Even our expert poll loves the Giants-Dodgers rivalry.
° Kershaw's postseason stats:
51.0 IP, 1-5, 5.12 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 58 K, 18 BB
° Bumgarner's postseason stats:
88.1 IP, 7-3, 2.14 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 77 K, 15 BB
King Felix top challenger
Outside of the NL West, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez is the only pitcher who came close to earning the start and the only one to land a first-place vote. He landed on 7-of-10 ballots despite never making a postseason start in his career. Adam Wainwright landed on six ballots, meaning only four names landed on more than half of the ballots.
The King of the Northwest is the top arm in the American League but the top of this expert poll was dominated by the National League. The top two, four of the top five and seven of the top nine hail from the senior circuit.
The Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies were the only three teams to have multiple pitchers receive votes. While Cliff Lee may not have much left in the tank for the Phils, the Southside duo of Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija should have fans in Chicago jacked up about the upcoming season. Both guys are young and surging into the prime of their careers. Everyone knows how nasty the Kershaw-Zack Greinke tandem will be in Los Angeles this year.
Names not receiving votes
Some of the biggest and best names not to receive a single vote? Washington’s Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann, the Mets’ Matt Harvey, San Diego’s James Shields and Oakland’s Sonny Gray — who has been electric in big moments with the season on the line for the A’s. No Jered Weaver, Justin Verlander, Gio Gonzalez, Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka or Julio Teheran either.