A look at baseball's best current pitching combos
Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee aren't baseball's only pair of aces. Here are five others.
Seattle Times assistant sports editor
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.
• 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.
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