With the MLB Postseason quickly approaching, teams will begin to make decisions on who will be their game 1 starters. Getting quality starts and wins in the postseason is one of the biggest things a pitcher can do for his team.
With that being said, I thought now would be a good time to look at the top 5 pitchers with the most wins in postseason history!
5. Roger Clemens
12 Postseason Wins
Roger Clemens made 34 postseason starts in his 24 MLB seasons. Clemens made 9 career starts as a member of the Boston Red Sox, going 1-2 in those 9 years.
Clemens then signed a 4 year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, however the team never made the postseason. Before the 1999 season, Clemens was traded to the New York Yankees.
Clemens immediately found success with the Bronx Bombers, helping the team reach the 1999 postseason. Clemens would go 2-1 in the 1999 World Series, including the wins that clinched the ALDS, and the World Series for the Yankees.
Over the next 4 years, Clemens would go 5-3 in postseason starts for the New York Yankees, including a win in game 2 of the 2000 World Series. Clemens last start for the Yankees came in 2003, when he faced the Florida Marlins, leaving the game to a standing ovation from Marlins players.
Clemens would come out of retirement and join the Houston Astros. Clemens appeared in two postseasons for the Astros, going 4-2 in those two years.
Clemens made a shock return to the New York Yankees in 2007, and would make one appearance in the 2007 ALDS. Clemens would start game 3 for the Yankees against the Cleveland Indians. However, Clemens would leave after 2 1/3 innings with a strained hamstring.
Clemens is the 5th most winningest starter in the postseason, going 12-8 with a careers 3.75 postseason ERA.
4. Justin Verlander
13 Postseason Wins
Justin Verlander is the only player on this list that is currently still an active pitcher. Considering Verlander in only 1 win away from the third winningest pitcher, and 2 wins away from number 2, Verlander could potentially move past both those players.
So far, Verlander has made 24 career postseason starts. Verlander began his career in Detroit, and made his first postseason start in 2006. During his time in Detroit, Verlander would go 7-5 in postseason starts.
In 2017, the Tigers would trade Verlander to the Houston Astros. Later that year, Verlander would start game 1 for the Astros, and would defeat the Boston Red Sox. In game 4, the Astros would bring Verlander in for relief of Charlie Morton.
In that game, Verlander would give up a 2 run home run to Andrew Benintendi, but would still get the win and would eliminate the Red Sox from the postseason.
Verlander would then go 2-0 against the New York Yankees in the ALCS, and would be named ALCS MVP. Verlander would start game 2 of the World Series, but would finish with a no decision. Verlander would then start Game 6, but would ultimately lose the game 3-1.
In 2018, Verlander would go 2-1 in the postseason, bringing his postseason record with the Astros to 6-2. All time in 7 postseason appearances, Verlander has a record of 13-7 with a 3.19 ERA. Verlander will look to add to his total in 2019.
3. Tom Glavine
14 Postseason Wins
Tom Glavine would be apart of one of the best pitching trios in MLB History. The trio was so great, all three are in the top 10 for most postseason wins. Glavine’s first postseason appearance came in 1991. Glavine would go 1-3 in that time.
Glavine was a key factor in the Braves’ 1995 World Series victory. Glavine would start 1 game in the NLDS against the Colorado Rockies, but would exit with a no decision. In the NLCS, Glavine would again get a no decision in his one start against the Cincinnati Reds.
But in the 1995 World Series, Glavine really turned it on. Glavine would start and win game 2 of the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. Game 6 of that series was something magical though.
In Game 6, the Braves went with Glavine to start the game against Jim Poole. Glavine would go on to pitch 8 innings of incredible 1 hit baseball, which would be only the 5th 1-hitter in World Series history. Glavine would be awarded World Series MVP.
In total, Glavine would appear in 11 postseasons for the Atlanta Braves, before signing a 4 year deal with the New York Mets. Glavine would make 3 stars for the Mets in the 2006 postseason, going 2-1.
In all, Glavine is 14-16 in postseason wins with a 3.30 ERA, and pitched one of the best World Series games ever.
2. John Smotlz
15 Postseason Wins
The other pitcher in that Braves amazing trio was John Smoltz. Smoltz’s first postseason appearance came in 1991 with the Atlanta Braves. In the 1991 playoffs, Smoltz would make 4 starts and would go 2-0.
In 1992, the Braves would return to the playoffs and Smoltz would make his second World Series appearance. In the 1992 NLCS, Smotlz would start 3 games and would win 2 of those games with a no decision in the other, earning him NLCS MVP.
In the 1995 playoffs that we spoke about earlier, Smoltzie would start 3 games, but wouldn’t get a victory in either of the 3 starts. In his only World Series start in ’95, Smoltz would give up 4 runs to the Cleveland Indians.
Smoltz and the Braves would make a 4th World Series appearance in 1996 where Smotlz would start 2 games against the New York Yankees, splitting those starts, but pitching a 0.64 ERA.
Starting in 2001, following Tommy John surgery, Smoltz would transition to the bullpen. From 2001-2005 Smoltz would appear in 12 games for the Braves and would start 1 game in 2005. During his time in the pen, Smoltz would win 3 playoff games, however he would save 3 games.
In 2009, John Smoltz would sign with the St. Louis Cardinals following a stint with the Red Sox. The Cardinals would make it to the NLDS in 2009 where Smoltz would appear in 1 game giving up 4 runs.
In total, Smoltz appeared in 14 playoffs in his career where he went 15-4 with a 2.67 ERA. Smoltz also has 4 career postseason saves.
1. Andy Pettitte
19 Postseason Wins
Andrew Eugene Pettitte. (He and Mike Mussina are my favorite all time pitchers). Andy Pettitte has 19 career playoff wins spanning an incredible 18 year career.
Pettitte’s first appearance in the playoffs came in 1995 with the Yankees. Pettitte would start only 1 game in the ALDS where he gave up 4 runs.
The Yankees would make a postseason run in 1996, where Pettitte would 5 starts and would go 2-1. Pettitte would lose game 1, but would come back and win game 5, which would be the final game ever played at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
1998 began the Yankees legendary 3-peat. Between 1998 and 2000, Pettitte’s postseason record was an incredible 6-1 in 9 starts. In 2001, Pettitte would go 2-3 in the playoffs, including winning the ALCS MVP.
In 2004, Pettitte would join the Houston Astros and would get to the playoffs in 2005. In the 2005 postseason, Pettitte would go 1-1 in 4 starts.
Pettitte would return to the Yankees in 2007 and would only appear in 1 playoff game in the ’07 playoffs. In the 2009 playoffs, Pettitte was once again terrific. Pettitte would go 4-0, helping the Yankees win their 27th World Series Championship.
In total, Pettitte would appear in 14 postseasons, going 19-11. Pettitte also has a 3.81 career playoff ERA. Pettitte has played in 8 different World Series and has been on the winning end of 19 postseason series.
Performing in the postseason is something you either have or don’t have. Some players get into the postseason and just can’t put together solid performances. But these 5 pitchers are some of the very best pitchers of all time, and it shows in their postseason statistics.
Featured Cover Photo: nydailynews.com
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