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5's vs. 12's

April 1, 2009

Off to the No. 5 seeds vs. the No. 12 seeds. Bracketologist Kirk Minihane will be subbing in for me again with the commentary. But first, here are the winners from the 4’s vs. 13’s:

Fergie Jenkins (82 percent) over Frank Viola (18 percent)

Gaylord Perry (94 percent) over Milt Pappas (6 percent)

Tom Glavine (97 percent) over Larry Jackson (3 percent)

Juan Marichal (91 percent) over Mike Cuellar (9 percent)’

Now, the next round:

Cy Young Region

5. Early Wynn vs. 12. Roy Oswalt

300 wins, five 20-win seasons and a Cy Young winner in 1959, Wynn also finished in the AL top 10 in complete games 14 times. So why only a five seed? His career ERA was 3.54, not significantly better than the average league ERA for his career (3.77). Compare that with Oswalt, who owns a 3.13 ERA against an average league ERA of 4.36. Tough to pick a guy with just eight seasons  over a 300-game winner, but there is an argument to be made for Oswalt. Five top-five Cy Young finishes, a .688 winning percentage and a pair of 20-win seasons. In career Adjusted ERA+ Oswalt ranks 16th. Wynn? Tied for 422nd.

[poll id=”17″]

Walter Johnson Region

5. Robin Roberts vs. 12. Don Newcombe

Roberts won 20 games in this third season in the majors (1950). He would win 20 in each of the next five seasons, including 28 in 1952. Never won 20 again after 1955, he was actually little more than an average pitcher over the last half of his career. Still finished with 286 wins, though. Newcombe only pitched 10 seasons (missed two of his prime years to the military, also spent time in the Negro Leagues), but won 20 games in three of them. His 1956 season was his best, as he won 27 games and picked up the MVP and Cy Young Award. Newcombe was breaking down in his early 30s, so even if we give him credit for those missed seasons I doubt he would have matched Roberts’ career totals.

[poll id=”18″]

Lefty Grove Region

5. Bert Blyleven vs. 12. Jimmy Key

Blyleven should be a Hall of Famer. Just bad luck, pitched for some terrible teams. Put it this way: There are are eight pitchers that rank among the top 20 in wins, strikeouts and shutouts since 1900. Seven (Don Sutton, Tom Seaver, Gaylord Perry, Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Fergie Jenkins and Walter Johnson) are in the Hall of Fame. The eighth is Blyleven. Ten seasons with an ERA of 3.00 or less. Would’ve won 320+ games if he had pitched for good teams his whole career. Final Four sleeper. Key was a really consistent pitcher. Save for 1995 (he missed most of the season with an injury) he won between 12-17 games in each season from 1985 to 1997. Two second-place Cy Young finishes and a 3.15 ERA in 14 postseason appearances.

[poll id=”19″]

Christy Mathewson Region

5. Phil Niekro vs. 12. Andy Pettitte

Niekro is remembered for the knuckleball, of course, but he was a terrific pitcher for some lousy Atlanta teams. Take 1978. Niekro throws 334.3 innings (22 complete games) with a 2.88 ERA. His record? 19-18 (the team won 69 games that season). He was also stuck in a hitters’ park for the great majority of his career (career home ERA was 3.50, road 3.20). He still managed to post 13 seasons with at least 15 wins. I’m not sure we’d be talking about Pettitte if he had pitched in Kansas City for his entire career. Still, he’s been a 15-18 game winner almost every season (two 20-win years). Not sure what to make of his best season. 17-9 with a 2.39 ERA for the Astros in 2005 (league ERA was 4.23). Was HGH a factor? That’s where this stuff gets tricky.

[poll id=”20″]

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Rhayader permalink
    April 2, 2009 7:38 am

    We’re finally getting to some close calls here. I think Oswalt vs. Wynn is upset city. Most of the other ones are pretty straightforward, although not nearly as cut and dry as the first few groups. Looking forward to some staunch competition in the coming matchups.

  2. jered permalink
    April 2, 2009 9:50 am

    Bert wins, too, for having the best Chris Berman name of all time: Bert “Be Home” Blyleven.

  3. April 2, 2009 2:03 pm

    curt shilling = steroid user.

  4. Phillies/BoSox permalink
    April 2, 2009 5:54 pm

    don’t be angry just because he is better than you Yohan…

  5. April 2, 2009 11:10 pm

    Dear Mr. Schilling,

    I am 10 and started my own Boston Red Sox blog. You are in my first post. I hope you unretire.

    Go BoSox,

  6. SDL1 permalink
    April 3, 2009 1:50 pm

    Ok, I will confess…I am also Dutch, as is Blijleven, so there’s bias on my part towards Rikaalbert 😉

    Wynn v Oswalt. Oswalt’s career is far from over, and I go by the final numbers. Wynn is in the HOF…No way to know if Oswalt will be as well.

    Roberts v Newcombe. Tough for me..I had to flip a coin and it came up for Roberts. Imagine though how much better Newk’s numbers would’ve been had he not missed those Army years (one argument I use in saying that Gil Hodges should be in the HOF..sorry for straying a bit OT), as well playing in the Negro leagues, whose numbers are NOT counted as ML stats (they SHOULD be).

    P. Niekro v Pettitte. Are you kidding? Have Pettitte call me after he pitches as long as Knucksie has!

  7. April 3, 2009 5:30 pm

    I grew up playing and loving baseball. I have to say though, most my knowledge of these classic pitchers comes from unlocking them in whatever baseball game, and then if I’m curious enough I read up on them online.

    Phil Neikro is an old favorite of mine–I love knuckle-ballers. Do you guys think we’ll have more anymore knucklers after Tim Wakefield? I’ve heard that scouts aren’t impressed when a potential big league pitcher’s repertoire includes a knuckle ball pitch.

  8. April 8, 2009 8:37 pm

    wheres sam mcdowell k master of the 60s 5 time leader in ks 6 time all star. in a 6 year stretch era in the mid 2s and almost 1700 ks and opps below 200 ave good job curt when to miss a pitcher who is better than you oh yeah i knew that off the top of my head

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