Best pitching matchups ever? The many layers of the clash of the super-rotations

HOUSTON -- Bill James, the eminent baseball historian and writer, created a system a few years ago to rank starting pitchers. The system updates with each game and rankings change based on a balance between recent performance and track record. But generally speaking, players move up or down the list only gradually.

Here is James' current top five starting pitchers in the majors:

1. Gerrit Cole, Astros
2. Justin Verlander, Astros
3. Max Scherzer, Nationals
4. Jacob deGrom, Mets
5. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals

As you no doubt noticed, the pitching matchups for Games 1 and 2 are contained in that short list of five. And since you're wondering, it's possible that Game 3 will pit Washington's Patrick Corbin against Houston's Zack Greinke. (Nationals manager Dave Martinez didn't name a Game 3 starter on Monday, as it's possible Corbin might be once again called into service out of the bullpen.) James has Corbin ranked No. 8 and Greinke No. 10.