Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee aren't baseball's only pair of aces. Here are five others.
Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee aren’t baseball’s only pair of aces.
• CC Sabathia and Javier Vazquez, Yankees: New pairing has the look of about 35 wins and 400-plus strikeouts.
• Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels, Phillies: Halladay, one of baseball’s best with Blue Jays, joins Hamels, who hopes to recapture 2008 form.
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• Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, Giants: Lincecum, a former Husky, already has two Cy Youngs. Cain has similar ability. Both are 25 years old.
• Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, Cardinals: Wainwright, a first-round pick in 2000, had a breakout season last year. Carpenter, a Cy Young winner, is always good when he’s healthy.
• Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, Red Sox: Beckett has averaged 16 wins past five seasons; Lester is 31-14 past two years, struck out 225 last year.
Under the radar
• Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco, Marlins: Nolasco took a step backward last season, but he was one of NL’s best in 2008; Johnson returned from surgery to be one of NL’s top pitchers last season.
Dual aces of the future
• Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, Dodgers: Billingsley, 25, wore down in second half last season, and Kershaw, 22, still struggles with control. But former first-round picks are already good, should only get better.
• Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, Tigers: Verlander, 27, reached ace status last year (19-9, 3.45 ERA, 269 strikeouts). Scherzer, 25, struck out more than a batter per inning last season with the Diamondbacks.
• Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens, Braves: Hanson, 23, was 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in two-thirds of a season with the Braves last year. Jurrjens, 24, went 14-10, 2.60.
Speaking of the future
• The Nationals will probably bring up Stephen Strasburg in June. And when they do … well, when they do, they’ll be halfway to having two aces.
When aces go wrong
• Of course, this year’s pair of aces can turn into next year’s Carlos Silva and Horacio Ramirez. Take a look at what happened to these duos after they teamed up to win 20 games each:
• Jose Lima and Mike Hampton, 1999 Astros: Lima followed his 21-10 season by going 7-16 with a 6.65 ERA. In the 10 seasons that followed Hampton’s 22-4 year, he won 78 games.
• LaMarr Hoyt and Rich Dotson, 1983 White Sox: Hoyt, 24-10 in ’83, was 13-18 the next season, and two years later was out of baseball, at age 31. Dotson followed his 22-7 season by going 14-15, then got worse from there.