Swing State Pres

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Third GOP Debate: Rubio Rockets, Cruz Missiles, Carson Drones, Bush Tanks and CNBC Bombs

The headlines from the CNBC debate on Wednesday night:
  1. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz advanced their causes.
  2. Donald Trump is growing more palatable and credible as a possible candidate.
  3. The mystery of why Ben Carson is leading everyone else intensifies.
  4. Jeb Bush’s candidacy has just been transferred to the ICU.
  5. CNBC did what no one at CNN has been able to accomplish in years: it made CNN look like a first rate news service.

Let’s start with an interesting but rather subtle shift seemed to occur in the Republican debate on Wednesday night. For different reasons, the ten candidates on the stage seemed to come into a sudden alignment on exactly who the enemy is. And, no, it actually is not Hillary Clinton or her pinko sidekick from Back to the Future.

In this debate, every candidate coalesced around the idea that the single most evil, incompetent, wasteful, dishonest, lying, stealing, cheating, and – worst of all -- regulating organization in the world is the one that they are all competing ferociously to lead.

The enemy Wednesday night was the Federal Government. The neat trick about this new definition of the enemy is that it could be the long-sought Republican “Big Tent” that can unite the fraying party factions. It’s an obvious platform for outsiders Trump, Carson and Fiorina. It works great for states’ rights governors Kasich, Huckabee, Jindal, and Christie. It allows senators Rubio, Paul, Cruz and Graham to bash the very institution they work for – and even its Republican leadership. Dear heaven, it was even lovingly embraced by Jeb Bush, whose brother and father actually led the federal government for 12 out of the last 27 years!

Nothing the Federal government does could not be done better by the states or by the private sector. Nothing. Period. The Federal government creates problems and then exacerbates them when it tries to fix them (Fiorina). The Federal government steals your money and lies about it (Christie) to a degree that is actually worse than Bernie Madoff (Huckabee). The Federal government solves every problem by spending more (Cruz). Federal regulations always add cost that burdens poor and middle income families (Carson). The Federal government is incompetent at everything it does (everybody). The evening was neatly tied together by Rand Paul, whose ideal government was “so small that you can’t see it.”

Sure, the Democrats are worse than the Republicans on this, they mentioned, but the real theme of the evening was that the Federal government is a bi-partisan catastrophe, an out-of-control spending machine that is the fault of everyone and everybody who touches it.

Let’s state this a different, and perhaps more telling, way.

Every single candidate has now finally figured out that Trump, Carson, and Fiorina are not Republicans at all. They are pure-play outsiders who are winning on the antipathy that Americans feel toward the dysfunction of government. And so the actual Republicans on the stage spent most of the evening trying to each establish their own personal brands of renegade, anti-government outsider-hood.

And here is the real zinger.

The two guys who made the most progress last night were two guys who are actually on the Federal Government payroll.

So who won and who lost in this evolving world-view?

Marco Rubio made enormous strides in this debate. He continues to be charismatic, polished, extremely well prepared and deft on his feet. He demonstrated command over some of the evening’s more arcane fiscal policy scrums (hey, I thought “H One B” was a virus!).  He neatly pivoted on Jeb Bush’s pathetic attack on Rubio’s recent confession to Senatorial ennui, turning it into a generational clarion call for change. Deftly, he alone found a way to insert the word “Benghazi” into a debate on economics, which is wired to automatically light up the “applause” sign in all Republican venues. And he thought up a new way to vilify the left-leaning-eastern-elite-establishment-lame-stream media, introducing the notion that it should be viewed a mammoth Super Pac for the Democratic Party. But, please:  if Republicans castigate CNBC as leftist leaning, those socialists over at the Wall Street Journal must be next.  Bottom line: give the Beaver an A-.

The Cruz missiles were flying at this debate, as the self-pleasuring master-debater rocked the house repeatedly over the course of the evening. It was newsworthy that Cruz seemed to be doubling down on his vicious attacks on his own party’s congressional leaders, given that the Freedom Caucus had so recently blinked – and blinked hard – in capitulating to Paul Ryan’s ransom note. But give Ted Cruz his due: he brilliantly ticked off the five first “gotcha” questions from the CNBC moderators and blasted them for their bias and lack of respect for the candidates.

And you know what? He was right. John Harwood is a first class journalist, but his opening question to Donald Trump – essentially asking him if his campaign was a joke – set the evening off in a foolishly contentious path from which CNBC will not recover soon.  

Holding ground:

Admit it, lefty, Donald Trump is getting better at this, rapidly. Consider that just a few short months ago that Republican Party cognoscenti were privately purring that Donald Trump was the perfect crazy extremist foil – Cheryl Bachman turned on overdrive -- to serve the purpose of bringing the party to its senses and causing it to embrace Jeb Bush as the sane and sensible centrist who could unite the party and win.  Now, Ben Carson has usurped that role and is making the GOP embrace Donald Trump as the sane and sensible centrist who could unite the party and win. Harwood’s opening question had the amazing effect of making the audience sympathetic to Trump, and The Donald pounced. He had a good evening, with a strong finish – trumpeting how he had used his genius for negotiation to force CNBC to shorten the debate to two hours. And, in limiting CNBC to two hours, everyone in the world agreed that Donald had performed an invaluable service to humanity.

Someday, the world will figure out that Dr. Carson is Yoda gone to the dark side, an intentionally mysterious man whose sotto-voce affectation, heavy eyelids, and enigmatic riddle-speak are apparently soothing to Bible-toting social conservatives who just want someone who will unequivocally say that the Christian God is in the pilot seat. Ben Carson says crazy things out loud. We know it all: Obamacare is slavery, that the United States can be compared to Nazi Germany, and that the Holocaust would not have happened if the Jews thought like the NRA. But Carson as carcinogen was not on display in Colorado; the focus on fiscal issues kept the conversation away from the most incendiary of his topics.  He was his usually fuzzy-illogic; muddling through answers and always meandering to his mantra, “and that’s why the United States is by the people for the people and of the people.” The physics of inertia worked in his favor; though… nothing he did damaged him. He will emerge from this debate with generally unchanged polling numbers.

The Losers: Everybody else.

It seems like it is still early in the campaign, but wet cement dries quickly. Repeated failures to generate excitement and momentum gradually turn into hardened images of ineffectuality. Chris Christie had his debate moments, but he is clearly losing the “angry centrist governor” battle to Kasich. Carly Fiorina is losing the “proven CEO” battle to Trump. Mike Huckabee is losing the evangelical battle to Cruz. And I find it hard to imagine how this debate would have been the slightest bit different had Rand Paul spent the evening in a room at Motel 6.  

The Jeb Bush camp has got to be in full-throttle panic mode by now. An unskilled debater, Jeb seems to go for the capillary rather than the jugular. He made a terrible decision to take a cheap, pointless shot at Marco Rubio about his senate attendance record, making himself look scared, and providing Rubio with a grooved softball that Rubio hit into the upper deck. Jeb’s oratorical style has all the impact of a nerf ball; he may well be the guy that the Microsoft engineers had in mind when they created PowerPoint, conveying his vision for the future of mankind in tidy sequential bullets using the default font.

Jeb is at a crisis point. You could argue that right now he is in third place in the “angry centrist governor” battle -- behind both Kasich and Christie. At least those two have fire in the belly.  Now is the time to ask whether Jeb has ever really ached to be President, or if this half-baked dalliance is just an obligation he feels to his family legacy.

But the biggest loser is CNBC.

It was a real disappointment to see the not-yet-ready-for-even-cable-primetime performance of the CNBC team. John Harwood is a respected professional (indeed, Harwood asked that question that led to Rick Perry’s candidacy-ending amnesia), but his questions were angry and arrogant. Rebecca Quick was repeatedly embarrassed for her inability to prove the source of the “gotcha” quotes she flung at the candidates.
Perhaps worse, CNBC simply lost control of the debate. We’ll call it the “Webb Cam,” which is when candidates whine about their time allotment and simply refuse to stop talking, trampling over the hapless moderators.  Repeatedly throughout the evening, the candidates simply ignored the question put before them and said, “I need to go back and get my turn to answer the last question.” CNBC cut some people off, and not others. The atmosphere became contentious and toxic; ironically providing a unifying moment for the candidates, as they took turns applauding each other’s civility and stature in the face of the CNBC treatment.
The pity of it is that when the media lives up to the charge of being biased, arrogant, and on a search-and-destroy mission, it provides fresh tanks of oxygen to the Red Staters (and their candidates!) who in turn have greater leeway to dismiss the fair questions of even-handed journalist.

And, by the way, how hard is it to give and candidate sixty seconds and then just turn off the microphone?

For that matter: can we please start the debate on time?  We are trained by history to expect the debates to begin when they are advertised to begin, which in this case was 8 PM.  Instead CNBC made us listen to second-rate blather for 15 minutes, and they even chatted over the candidate introductions.

Here’s my bottom line: if you are going to give CNBC a debate and watch this joke play out, then let’s give equal time to a really serious network where far more people get their news – Comedy Central.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The First Democratic Debate: Start Printing the Clinton/O’Malley ’16 Bumper Stickers

Steve is back with his excellent take on the Democrats' turn on the big stage.

It sure is nice when you don’t have to deal with eleven podiums, isn’t it?

You actually get to know a bit about each of the candidates beyond well-rehearsed nuclear-tipped sound-bites. With two and a half hours of air time, the strengths and liabilities of five candidates were laid bare, and the relatively minor nuances of policy difference were cast in high relief. 

What we learned in the first Democratic debate is that the stars have truly aligned for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Far more significant than simply besting Bernie Sanders, she provided the fire-hose of reality that Joe Biden – the real threat -- needed to realize that he should not enter the race.

While Bernie’s passion and intensity convinced us that he was indeed not as wacky as his doppelganger -- the “Doc” character in Back to the Future – we also learned that he’s no 2008 Barack Obama, who proved uniquely capable of taking a wrecking ball to Clinton inevitability.

I will miss Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb, but their incompetence as candidates indicates that they may not be able to draft speeches abandoning their candidacies for a few weeks. Those who have watched Martin O’Malley for the past few years were not surprised by his very strong game last night.

The truth is that you can go back to your new FanDuel habit until the Super Bowl and re-engage in this discussion in February, because it’s all over now.  Start printing the Clinton/O’Malley '16 bumper stickers.

Let’s start with our “Weeknight with Bernie.” Forgive me, but I have been to this democratic movie too many times: a passionate, intense, left-leaning demagogue strokes the idealistic passions of youth into a frenzy, only to prove too extreme and volatile to the centrists who actually elect presidents. How many people learned for the first time last night that Bernie Sanders was a conscientious objector in the Viet Nam era?  Sorry, that’s not going play in an America that now venerates its vets. How many viewers last night paused and said, “Gee, I don’t want our candidate to hand Donald Trump the grenade that we are a party of ‘democratic socialists’”?  How many people watched him twist his idealism into an NRA pretzel about gun legislation?

Don’t get me wrong: we all like Bernie. He had his “no more of your damn e-mails” moment, which was authentic, high-minded, and even a bit shrewd. But when Barack Obama took on front-runner Hillary Clinton, he was riding on a high of uniting red and blue American, generational change, hope, and the immense symbolism of becoming the first African American President. Bernie Sanders comes across as a cranky old white guy who is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. The simple fact is that he is not positioned to recreate the Obama coalition, particularly if he forgets to even mention the need to fix immigration over a two-and-a-half-hour period on national television.

Bernie will ride the momentum he has built for a good while. He likes holding the megaphone, and he is very genuine in the sense that he is on a mission to take the investment bankers down, and we can all applaud that. But no one seemed to realize that Bernie needed either a clear win or a Hillary stumble last night, and he got neither. Last night might not have been the end, but it was the beginning of the end.

What’s interesting about Hillary Clinton’s performance last night was that there really was no single sound-bite to summarize her narrative; no epic turn of phrase for either the historians or the video-clip crew at Fox. Rather, she was superbly and relentlessly on her game. She appeared poised, in-the-moment; and yes, even genuinely enjoying herself. Talk about “human” and “spontaneous” -- she even made a joke about how she was nearly late getting back to the stage after a bio break!

Interestingly, Hillary may be finally coming into her own as she evolves into the persona of “grandma the policy wonk.” Curiously, her opening introduction (“I am the granddaughter of …. and the grandmother of…”) sought self-definition in generational wisdom.

Hillary did get a big assist from Bernie on her ongoing email problem, but the truth is that the Republicans who took down Boehner gave Hillary a far, far bigger gift. Hilary showed how she will use Kevin McCarthy’s incredibly dumb confession about the true purpose of the Benghazi hearings to neuter email, Benghazi, and hours of Fox News programming material from now until inauguration day.

While the newly unveiled “human” Hillary was at the fore, her steely resolve was always at the ready. She did not hesitate to smack down Bernie after his crazy “I represent Vermont” defense of his position on gun litigation. And when Anderson Cooper asked her if Hillary wanted to respond to Lincoln Chafee’s commentary about e-mail-gate, she rather off-handedly emasculated him with a casually-considered “no.” Chafee’s voice immediately rose an octave.

Chafee scaled the “pathetic debate moment” nearly to the notch marked “Rick Perry” when he offered a stunning litany of lame excuses for voting to repeal Glass Steagall. The only excuse he failed to mention was that the dog ate his homework.

Jim Webb appears to be the Democratic response to Rand Paul, in that he is proudly out of sync with his party on many issues. Webb’s evening was devoted to lusty salvos at Anderson Cooper about how all the candidates should get a fair share of debate time; indeed, it appeared to be the central rational for Webb’s soon-to-be former candidacy.

Speaking of which, Team CNN continues to disappoint. For starters, they want debates to behave more like the earthquakes and third world uprisings that are now their sole lingering sweet spot. Anderson’s entire debate prep seemed designed to manufacture “breaking news;” largely in evidence of flip-flops, which he should know is both more common and more damning in Red State Nation. In keeping with their general belief that education is a good thing, Dems are very open to the idea that views can evolve with new realities, a changing world, and fresh information. CNN’s most embarrassing error was to include a journalist from CNN en Espanol and then proceed to ignore him for virtually the entire evening. But even that guy had a better gig than Don Lemon, who was placed in such a distant orbit that he appeared to be still stuck on Malaysian Airlines 370 duty.

Our surprise of the evening: the very poised and polished Martin O’Malley. Lord knows it is tough to be a handsome six foot white guy in today’s Democratic Party, and his path to the Veep spot may well be blocked by the Houston Castros (well, San Antonio, to be precise). O’Malley was articulate, informed, and managed to find substantive differentiation from Hilary without incurring her wrath. His big policy point – reviving Glass-Steagall – is worthy; it is radical but might actually address more problems more practically than Dodd Frank. O’Malley’s best shot at Veep is the “John Edwards” angle (no, not that John Edwards angle) – keeping his candidacy alive far enough that he develops his own following, and establishes himself as a proven, effective campaigner, and brings a substantial constituency to the ticket.

O’Malley’s close was brilliant; not just for his own cause, but for his graceful and clever decision to “sell the party.” He reminded the audience that on this evening, on this stage, there was no racism, misogyny, or xenophobia. Too bad Bernie and Hillary had to follow him; O’Malley lifted the entire hall to the evening’s high.

My advice to the Democrats? I wouldn’t let the URL www.clintonomalley16.com sit out there unclaimed for too long.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Are Greinke and Kershaw the Best Starting Duo Ever?

A brief break from politics to look at another towering issue of the day.

Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw each had brilliant seasons for the Dodgers in 2015, and their double-barreled dominance raises the question:  are they the best starting duo ever?  Furthermore, this is the second year in a row each has excelled.  Have we ever seen two starting pitcher teammates perform at such a level for consecutive seasons?

Let me give you the short answer and then work back to the analysis.  The Greinke/Kershaw duo certainly qualifies as one for the ages, and it does not disparage them at all to report that their 2015 performance ranks 7th on the list of best by a pair.  As for the consecutive season performance over 2014/15, you have to go back to 1906/07 to find a better one, and they rank third all-time.

I set up the analysis as follows.  I used “Adjusted ERA+” as the defining factor for determining greatness.  I think it is the single pitching statistic that best captures relative performance, in that it directly compares a pitcher’s ERA to that of his league, and also adjusts statistically for the ballpark factor (that is, for whether it is a hitter’s or pitcher’s park).  This makes it a good statistic to compare across eras, since it self-adjusts for lighter hitting eras (such as the ‘Dead Ball Era”) and those featuring more pop (like the 1930’s and the more recent “Steroids Era”).

I defined “starting pitcher” as one who had started at least 20 games in a season, appeared in over half their games pitched as a starter, and qualified for the ERA title.  I excluded the Federal League, all seasons before 1901, and any pitcher who was traded midseason.

And finally, I set a bar for each pitcher (in the pair) to have an ERA+ of 125 or more.  This was to avoid what I call the “Christy and Hank Mathewson Problem” (or, if you prefer, the “Henry and Tommie Aaron Problem”), in which one half of the partnership is so dominant that he drags along the other into historical greatness, rather undeservingly.  (Henry and Tommie Aaron hold the record for most homers by brothers, 768, of which Tommie hit only 13.)  The 125 was fairly arbitrary as a cutoff, but every year about 15-20 or so pitchers in MLB cross this threshold and that seemed a fine amount to define a “great season” (there were exactly 15 who did so in 2015).

Greinke alone had a spectacular season in 2015.  His ERA+ of 225 was tied for 13th all time.  He had an ERA of 1.66 which was less than half of the National League ERA of 3.90.  Pedro Martinez’s wondrous 2000 season leads the pack, when he had an otherworldly ERA+ of 291, with an ERA of 1.74 when the American League, in the heart of the steroids era, had a league-wide ERA of 4.91.  You can see the Top 20 below, and note the legendary names (Johnson, Mathewson, Young, Maddux) and fabled seasons (Gibson, 1968; Gooden, 1985) that populate it.  I extended the chart to the Top 20 so that one notes the inclusion of Jake Arietta in 2015 as well.  Two stunning seasons by Greinke and Arietta, and 2015 thus joins 1997 as the only seasons to appear twice on this list.

Rank
Player
Team
Adjusted ERA+
Year
1
Pedro Martinez
BOS
291
2000
2
Dutch Leonard
BOS
282
1914
3
Greg Maddux
ATL
271
1994
4
Greg Maddux
ATL
260
1995
5
Walter Johnson
WAS
259
1913
6
Bob Gibson
STL
258
1968
7
Mordecai Brown
CHC
253
1906
8
Pedro Martinez
BOS
243
1999
9
Walter Johnson
WAS
240
1912
10
Christy Mathewson
NYG
230
1905
11
Dwight Gooden
NYM
229
1985
12
Roger Clemens
HOU
226
2005
13
Pete Alexander
PHI
225
1915
13
Zack Greinke
LAD
225
2015
15
Roger Clemens
TOR
222
1997
15
Christy Mathewson
NYG
222
1909
17
Jake Arietta
CHC
219
2015
17
Pedro Martinez
MON
219
1997
17
Cy Young
BOS
219
1901
20
Lefty Grove
PHA
217
1931

Let’s move on to teammates in one year.  I’ve listed the Top 10 below.  A pair of ancient names, Dutch Leonard and Rube Foster, top the list for the 1914 Boston Red Sox.  Leonard had a year that was just behind Pedro’s on the list above, and Foster was no slouch either with a 160 ERA+.  Remarkably, that Red Sox staff also featured a 20-game winner, Ray Collins, a youthful future Hall-of-Famer named Smoky Joe Wood, and a rookie who got in a few starts here and there, a big fella named George Herman Ruth.

Brown and his famous fingers
But the stars of this page are the Cubbies of another era, circa 1906-1908, who had three of the top five “pairs” of seasons because they had an incredible staff, not just a pair.  The most familiar name is Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, so named for a farm accident that claimed a few of his digits, but also bequeathed to him, by virtue of the loss, a virtually unhittable curve ball.  Ed Reulbach, Jack Pfiester and Carl Lundgren excelled as well.   

You’ll note Pedro Martinez pairing with Bret Saberhagen for Boston in 1999; there is a quibble here because while Saberhagen, nearing the end of a brilliant, though injury-riddled career, pitched sensationally (ERA+ of 171), he made only 22 starts, just above my arbitrary threshold.  You may have thought that Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling of the 2001/12 Arizona Diamondbacks might make the list, but the 21st century National League pair that did was instead Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, in 2005 for Houston (asterisk fans, this is your moment).  Then comes Greinke and Kershaw, followed by Greg Maddux, Walter Johnson and Bob Gibson, all having historic seasons, partnered with excellent ones by Tom Glavine, John Boehling and Ray Washburn, respectively.

Rank
Teammates
Team
Adjusted ERA+ (1)
Adjusted ERA+ (2)
Adjusted ERA+ (Both)
Year
1
Dutch Leonard/Rube Foster
BOS
282
160
221
1914
2
Jack Pfiester/Carl Lundgren
CHC
216
213
215
1907
3
Mordecai Brown/Jack Pfiester
CHC
253
174
214
1906
4
Pedro Martinez/Bret Saberhagen
BOS
243
171
207
1999
5
Mordecai Brown/Ed Ruelbach
CHC
253
159
201
1906
6
Roger Clemens/Andy Pettitte
HOU
226
177
202
2005
7
Zack Greinke/Clayton Kershaw
LAD
225
175
200
2015
8
Greg Maddux/Tom Glavine
ATL
260
137
199
1995
9
Walter Johnson/Joe Boehling
WAS
259
138
199
1913
10
Bob Gibson/Ray Washburn
STL
258
129
194
1968

And that brings us to more sustained excellence, two teammates each accomplishing 125+ over two consecutive seasons.  I did this whole exercise in reverse chronological order, and I actually did this analysis first, before creating the charts above.  Greinke and Kershaw held their position at the top of the charts for decade after decade, soaring above (working back in time) Halladay, Lee and Hamels of the recent Phillies, Pedro and Clemens and their various pals, the Hudson, Zito, Mulder A’s, Johnson and Schilling, the Holy Trinity of Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz, Gooden and Darling, well beyond those Orioles staff of the early 1970’s, and Seaver and Koosman, and their Dodger forebears of Koufax and Drysdale, the legendary Indians of the 1950’s, as well as Spahn and Sain (no need to pray for rain), the Dean brothers, Lefty’s Grove and Gomez and their colleagues, and The Big Six Mathewson (and Marquand and Tessreau) and the Big Train Johnson (toiling in excellence alone for the Nats).

But the pair finally met their match back in time with the peerless staff of the 1900’s Cubs, making it to third place overall.  They are followed by the vaunted exploits of the Hall-of-Fame laden Braves, who filled out the list with no fewer than six entries of various pairs, as well as Johnson and Schilling.

Rank
Teammates
Team
Adjusted ERA+ (1)
Adjusted ERA+ (2)
Adjusted ERA+ (Both)
Years
1
Mordecai Brown/Jack Pfiester
CHC
216
195
206
1906/07
2
Mordecai Brown/Ed Ruelbach
CHC
216
184
190
1905/06
3
Clayton Kershaw/Zack Greinke
LAD
187
178
182
2014/15
4
Greg Maddux/Tom Glavine
ATL
211
142
177
1995/96
5
Greg Maddux/John Smoltz
ATL
211
141
176
1995/96
6
Greg Maddux/Tom Glavine
ATL
188
155
171
1997/98
7
Randy Johnson/Curt Schilling
ARI
192
149
170
2001/02
8
Greg Maddux/John Smoltz
ATL
188
141
165
1997/98
9
Greg Maddux/Tom Glavine
ATL
175
144
160
1996/97
10
Greg Maddux/John Smoltz
ATL
175
144
160
1996/97

But though I started with the focus on putting the exploits of Greinke and Kershaw in historical perspective, I came away from the analysis with a newfound appreciation for the unknowns who populated the Greatest Pitching Staff of all time, those Cubbies of the early 1900’s.  History tends to recall those Cubs only in relation to every Cub team since, and the failure of each of them to do what the 1908 (and 1907) Cubs did, and that is to win the World Series.

I’ve mentioned Brown, Reulbach, Pfiester and Lundgren, but you should throw in Jake Weimer, Bob Wicker, Jack Taylor and the supremely alliterative Buttons Briggs and Orval Overall.  Collectively (I might have said “overall” there but decided against it), from 1905-1907 those 9 Cub pitchers combined for an astonishing 17 seasons of 125+ ERA….five or six starting pitchers achieving that lofty mark in each season.  (Plus there were multiple 125+’s in several surrounding seasons, though, curiously, only Brown achieved it in the celebrated year of 1908.)  No other team comes close, including the Braves of nearly a century later, who had 10 in their best three-year stretch. 

But Kershaw and Greinke stand tall in this company, and these seasons will go down in the annals of the game.  They will be teammates for at least the next three seasons, so we can see if they can build on their legacy in progress.