Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Maddux v. Clemens

Two 300 game winners facing off at Wrigley tonight, with the real interesting factoid being that this will be the matchup with the most total wins coming in (among those games between 300 games winners).

But to gauge whether this game is worth watching, you need only watch the top of the first. If Maddux gives up a leadoff hit, or gives up a walk in the first inning (unless its of the intentional or unintentional-intentional variety), he doesn't have his good stuff, and he will be giving up some runs.

This is not what led to his dismal showing after a 5-0 start. Since he no longer has the margin of error he needs, he has been consistently flummoxed by shaky-to-bad defense and, like all the pitchers on this staff, an anemic offense. Trade rumors scare me, as Maddux is the best pitching coach in baseball. Ask Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall. You cannot expect anything near full value for him.

Clemens seems to suffer from anemic offense, and in the starts I have seen this year, seems susceptible to giving up a key 2-out hit, etc.

This would be a more exciting matchup in 1996, but the first 3+ innings should be a credible display....

Prior to the April 2005 game between Maddux and Clemens, the last time two 300-game winners started against each other was Aug. 4, 1987, when California's Don Sutton faced Minnesota's Steve Carlton.

From June 28, 1986, to Aug. 4, 1987, Sutton had four starts against 300-game winners: two against Phil Niekro and one each against Carlton and Tom Seaver.

Before the Maddux/Clemens game last year, the last time 300-game winners started against each other in a National League game was in July 1892. Philadelphia's Tim Keefe and St. Louis' Jim Gavin squared off against each other twice that month, playing in St. Louis on July 4, and on July 21 in Philadelphia.

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