World Series: Scherzer vs. Cole and the best matchups ever

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros pitches during Game 1 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros pitches during Game 1 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Undated photo.
Undated photo. /

Lefty Grove vs. Burleigh Grimes, Game 1, 1930, +354 ERA+

The Philadelphia Athletics’ Grove was the dominant pitcher of the late 1920s and early 1930s, compiling a 79-15 record between 1929 and 1931 for the A’s’ three-time American League pennant winners. In 1930, he went 28-5 with a league-leading 2.54 ERA, that in a season when the American League ERA was a staggering 4.65.

Grove struck out 209 batters that season, the sixth of seven consecutive seasons in which he led the league in that category.

It all added up to a 185 ERA+ for Grove and, eventually, to enshrinement into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.

Grimes was a 36-year-old spitballer whose best seasons were by then nearly a decade in the rearview mirror. Still, after the Cardinals obtained him in a trade with the Boston Braves to improve their pitching for the pennant stretch, he responded with a 13-6 record and 3.06 ERA in 22 appearances, 19 of them starts.

That made Grimes a logical choice to take on Grove in the Series opening game in Philadelphia. But as hot as Grimes was, he was no Lefty Grove, and especially when pitted against an A’s lineup that featured Hall of Fame sluggers Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane and Al Simmons. With Simmons and Cochrane both homering, the A’s beat Grimes 5-2 as both he and Grove pitched complete games.

Grove took the mound again in Game 4, this time against Jesse Haines, but lost 3-1 as the Cardinals evened the series at two games each. One day later, he was the winning pitcher in relief of George Earnshaw, besting Grimes, who pitched a complete game 2-0.  The Athletics went on to win the Series in six games.