Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg have performed remarkably this postseason, with a 1.01 ERA and 7.22 strikeout-walk ratio in a combined 44 2/3 innings. But how do they stack up against some of the great playoff pitchers of all time? BetAmerica decided to do a little off-day digging to find out.
1. Madison Bumgarner
Bumgarner’s heroics during the 2014 World Series against the Royals were awe-inspiring and stamp him as the class of this list. He held Kansas City to one earned run combined in Game 1 and Game 5—going the full nine innings in the latter—before he came on in relief in Game 7 and threw five scoreless frames to secure the victory. Bumgarner is 8-3 with a 2.11 ERA and 0.899 WHIP in 102 1/3 postseason innings.
— Cut4 (@Cut4) October 27, 2014
2. Mariano Rivera
Rivera is baseball’s all-time saves leader, so he knew a thing or two about pitching in the clutch. He produced an incredible 0.70 ERA and 0.759 WHIP in 141 playoff innings. Rivera helped the Yankees secure five World Series titles during his time in pinstripes and was named MVP of the 1999 fall classic, when he held the Braves scoreless in three appearances (4 2/3 innings). His blown save in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series against the Diamondbacks is merely a blip on the radar.
If anyone earned their pinstripes it was Mariano Rivera:
-Career 2.21 ERA
-MLB record 652 saves
-5x World Series Champion
-World Series MVP
-Hall of Fame
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 17, 2019
3. Sandy Koufax
Koufax did not have the benefit of racking up scoreless innings in the Division Series and Championship Series like the top pair on this list, but he still made an indelible mark on World Series history. He guided the Dodgers to three titles and was named MVP twice. That includes the 1965 World Series against the Twins, in which he tossed two complete-game shutouts, the latter of which came on two days of rest in Game 7. Koufax’s postseason ERA is a sparkling 0.95 over 57 innings.
On This Date 10/14/1965: Sandy Koufax led the Dodgers to a World Championship by pitching a complete game 3-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in Game 7 of the World Series. https://t.co/nEVLF6N54G pic.twitter.com/b5WCxPc7gY
— Brad Badini ⚾️ (@celeBRADtion) October 14, 2019
4. Bob Gibson
Gibson was perhaps the most feared pitcher of all time, so it’s a shame that he only pitched in nine playoff games. But when he did make it to October, the Hall of Famer rose to the occasion. Gibson went the distance in eight of his nine World Series appearances and produced a 1.89 ERA and 0.889 WHIP. He was named series MVP in 1964 and 1967.
— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) October 12, 2019
5. Andy Pettitte
Pitching wins are not as widely celebrated as they once were, but this list would not be complete without baseball’s postseason wins leader, Andy Pettitte. He tallied 19 playoff victories during his 18-year career. All but one of those wins came as a member of the Yankees, with whom he won five World Series rings. However, his overall playoff numbers—a 19-11 record with a 3.81 ERA and 1.305 WHIP, pale in comparison to those above him.
With the chance for a series sweep in Game 4 of the 1998 World Series, the #Yankees had Andy Pettitte toe the rubber. He threw 7 1/3 shutout innings, and the #Yankees won their second championship over the last three years. pic.twitter.com/FRBXvWsGqg
— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) January 3, 2019