Fantasy ranking the rotations

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In light of Craig’s response to Buster Olney’s blog, I’ve thrown this together. It’s a ranking 1-30 of how the top six pitchers in each team’s rotation fare in my fantasy projections.
This isn’t meant to be taken very seriously. For one thing, I’ve simply added up the totals, so the No. 6 starter is treated equally with the top five options. That’s a problem for the Mariners, Angels and some other teams that I see as just five deep. Also, I’m not attempting to neutralize for park and league effects. That really hurts the Rockies and Rangers, both of whom would be several spots higher if I were doing this by hand.
1. Red Sox 10.07
2. Yankees 4.77
3. Giants 3.79
4. Mariners 3.65
5. Phillies 3.40
6. Dodgers 1.39
7. Cardinals 0.20
8. Rays -0.38
9. Marlins -0.74
10. Cubs -0.95
11. Braves -3.02
12. Twins -3.08
13. Diamondbacks -3.13
14. White Sox -3.18
15. Mets -3.89
16. Padres -5.14
17. Tigers -5.98
18. Athletics -6.71
19. Rockies -7.35
20. Astros -7.64
21. Angels -7.84
22. Royals -8.19
23. Brewers -10.22
24. Rangers -10.43
25. Reds -11.03
26. Blue Jays -12.62
27. Orioles -12.73
28. Indians -14.21
29. Pirates -18.72
30. Nationals -21.63
– I have the Red Sox starters ranked 9th (Jon Lester), 11th (Josh Beckett), 27th (John Lackey), 40th (Clay Buchholz) and 60th (Daisuke Matsuzaka), making it pretty obvious why they fare well here. Even Tim Wakefield has a substantial edge on most of the No. 6 starters. Boston and Seattle are the two teams that I have receiving significant boosts because of their defenses.
– The Yankees would have narrowed the gap a little had I made Phil Hughes the sixth starter, but I’m projecting him as a reliever. Chad Gaudin took that spot. Likewise, the Cardinals would have been helped had I used Kyle McClellan in place of either Mitchell Boggs or Jaime Garcia.
– Besides the Red Sox, the only other team to place four starters in my top 50 was the Braves. I was pretty surprised just how low they graded out here. However, the fact that Tommy Hanson is the only real strikeout pitcher of the bunch hurt. Also, sixth starter Jo-Jo Reyes weighs them down. They could have moved up had I used Kris Medlen instead.
– The Nationals would have overtaken the Pirates had I used Stephen Strasburg over Scott Olsen or sixth starter Shairon Martis.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.