With the postseason here and the combatants in the pitching-heavy National League set, how do the staffs rate? We rank them from bottom to top.
5. Braves » Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA) has been brilliant and surprising coming off Tommy John surgery. Forget the hooey about the Braves saving him for the postseason. They are as surprised as anyone. Tim Hudson (16-7, 3.62) is loaded with playoff experience. Paul Maholm (13-11, 3.67) is solid.
4. Cardinals »
Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA) has been stellar, but the other teams' No. 1s better fit the definition of a power pitcher built for playoff success. After some struggles, Lance Lynn (18-7, 3.78) has won his last five appearances. Adam Wainwright (14-13, 3.94) is an experienced No. 3.
3. Nationals » Even minus Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez (21-8, 2.89) and Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 2.94) might be the best 1-2 in the league. No team has four guys who can hit 95 mph. But Edwin Jackson (10-11, 4.03) -- at least until Wednesday -- and Ross Detwiler (10-8, 3.40) have been iffy of late.
2. Reds » No team's top three enter the postseason in better form than Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78), Mat Latos (14-4, 3.48) and Homer "No Hit" Bailey (13-10, 3.75). All are power arms suited for October success, but their lack of playoff experience could pose a problem.
1. Giants » Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79) and Madison Bumgarner (16-11, 3.37) are the Giants' righty-lefty answer to Zimmermann and Gonzalez -- but with postseason experience. Journeyman Ryan Vogelsong (14-9, 3.46) continues to surprise. The wild card is Tim Lincecum (10-15, 5.18).
- Kevin Dunleavy