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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(Photo credit should read DOUG COLLIER/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo credit should read DOUG COLLIER/AFP via Getty Images) /

Greg Maddux vs. Orel Hershiser, Games 1 and 5,1995, 381 ERA+

Of the many World Series appearances made by Atlanta’s Smoltz-Maddux-Glavine trio between 1991 and 2003, Maddux’s 1995 battle with Cleveland’s Orel Hershiser stands out.

During the regular season, Maddux had won 19 of his 21 decisions, 10 of them via complete games. His 1.63 ERA led the National League for the third straight year, and his 260 ERA+ rated him more than 2.5 times superior to the average National League hurler.

At age 36, Hershiser was not the pitcher he had been with the 1988 Dodgers, but he remained very good. His 16-6 record and 3.87 ERA in 26 starts translated to a 121 ERA+.

The two greats of their time matched up twice in that 1995 Series, which Atlanta won in six games. In the opener, Maddux beat Hershiser 3-2 as the Braves’ ace limited the Indians to just two hits. Hershiser allowed just three hits in his six-plus innings of work, but one of those hits was a Fred McGriff home run.

They met again in game 5, Cleveland trailing three-games-to-one and needing a victory to stay alive. Hershiser gave it to them, working eight innings of five-hit ball to beat Maddux 5-4.

That win, however, only delayed the inevitable. Two nights later, Glavine, with closer help from Mark Wohlers, shut out the Indians 1-0 to wrap up Atlanta’s only World Series championship.