With the Mets and Nationals and their vaunted pitching rotations set to square off this weekend in a huge three-game series, we began wondering aloud: Which MLB teams have the best "Big 3" starters?
Here are the four teams we at NBC Sports Washington believe have the most dominant top-three starters in their rotations:
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-2, 1.53 ERA, 135.2 IP, 117 SO)
Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 2.77 ERA, 130.0 IP, 131 SO)
Walker Buehler (10-2, 3.22 ERA, 131.1 IP, 152 SO)
The National League's best team has three legitimate Cy Young candidates in its rotation, including a three-time winner in Kershaw. The best of LA's bunch this year has been Ryu, the NL leader in both ERA and WHIP. With this terrific trio, it's hard to imagine the Dodgers missing out on a third straight trip to the World Series.
2. Houston Astros
Justin Verlander (15-4, 2.68 ERA, 157.2 IP, 206 SO)
Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.87 ERA, 156.2 IP, 226 SO)
Zach Grienke (11-4, 3.08 ERA, 152.0 IP, 137 SO)
What does a rotation which boasts the American League's best two pitchers need? That's right, a six-time All-Star! Houston already had the AL's strongest top-three with Verlander, Cole, and Wade Miley, but the Astros went ahead and picked up Grienke at the trade deadline, just to be safe. GM Jeff Luhnow is ruthless, and his Astros look poised for another deep October run.
3. Washington Nationals
Max Scherzer (9-5, 2.41 ERA, 134.1 IP, 189 SO)
Stephen Strasburg (14-5, 3.72 ERA, 145.1 IP, 175 SO)
Patrick Corbin (9-5, 3.43 ERA, 141.2 IP, 164 SO)
Scherzer remains sidelined with a back injury, but when healthy, Washington's trio of hurlers can challenge any group for top-dog status. Strasburg's durability is one of the stories of this Nationals season, avoiding the injury bug which bit him so much in the past and now leads the NL in wins.
4. New York Mets
Jacob deGrom (7-7, 2.77 ERA, 143.0 IP, 182 SO)
Noah Syndergaard (8-5, 3.96 ERA, 141.0 IP, 140 SO)
Marcus Stroman (6-11, 3.07 ERA, 129.0 IP, 102 SO)
Many scoffed when the Mets traded for Stroman ahead of the deadline, but for now, the move looks ingenious, with New York just a half-game out of a wild card spot. And with all three of their top starters throwing this weekend when the Nats come to town, the Mets have a golden chance to make a statement in the NL playoff race.
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