Follow us:

Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

December 15, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Felix and Cliff: No better 1-2 punch in baseball

It’s not quite Koufax and Drysdale, Spahn and Sain, or even Johnson and Schilling, circa 2001. But Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee at the top of the Mariners’ rotation has the potential to be the best duo in baseball, and one of the best in recent memory.

What does that mean? In any huge three-game series, manager Don Wakamatsu has the option of setting up his rotation to have Lee and Hernandez work two of the games. That will give everyone confidence.

Both are innings-eaters; Felix (238 2/3) and Lee (231 2/3) finished third and fifth in the majors in innings pitched. Rounding out the top 5: Justin Verlander (240), Roy Halladay (239) and Adam Wainwright (233) — all Cy Young-caliber pitchers. WIth workhorse Ryan Rowland-Smith in the rotation, the Mariners’ bullpen should be much more well-rested in 2010.

And if the M’s should somehow get intio the postseason, when the ridiculous amount of offdays allow you to reduce your rotation to just three pitchers if you so choose (as the Yankees did this year), then the Mariners would be golden.

Here are some of the top tandems in baseball. I’d say that Hernandez and Lee stack up with all of them, and have the added benefit of being a right-left combo:

Cardinals: Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter.

Giants: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain

Red Sox: John Lackey, Jon Lester (it’s right-left, and it’s followed up by Josh Beckett, which trumps the Mariners, and everyone else, for depth)

Yankees: C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte (feel free to substitute A.J. Burnett for Pettitte)

Angels: Joe Saunders, Jered Weaver (it would have looked a lot better with Lackey or Halladay at the top)

Phillies: Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels

Diamondbacks: Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson (a bit of a stretch, but Jackson did make the All-Star team)

Royals: Zack Greinke, Gil Meche. (OK, a big stretch, but Greinke is so good he can carry Meche)

Braves: Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens.

Astros: Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez.

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley.

Mets: Johan Santana and mmm, uhhh, I’ll get back to you.

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►