The five best rotations in baseball?

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Buster Olney names what he thinks fits that bill anyway.  His list, in order: Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Angels, Cardinals.  He has the Phillies at 5a.

Yes, I’m a fanboy, but shouldn’t the Braves crack the top five? Olney has them “in the conversation” and said he would have ranked them third if they hadn’t traded Javier Vazquez.

Call me crazy, but while Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami aren’t going to lift the Braves to the playoffs all by themselves, that’s a solid, solid group. Top five in my mind anyway. I don’t know, maybe Olney is docking them because Hudson is coming off an injury, but he’s not docking Peavy and the White Sox, so who knows?

If I had to guess I’d say that this is just the latest example of the near criminal over-rating of Javier Vazquez we’ve seen ever since the trade went down (I think it was meant to offset the criminal underrating he received during the season).  Yes, the dude had an outstanding year — easily his best season — but would you be comfortable betting on him doing that well again? The Braves may not have gotten what they should have got for him, but that doesn’t change the fact that they were at least trying to sell high.

Oh well. Just throw it on the pile of things we can argue about until people start throwing pitches in anger.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.