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Eggs In One Basket: The "Two Aces" Problem

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Is two aces enough? We look at several teams with a pair of aces and often times not much else.

Many teams don't have a true ace at all, so to have two of them is quite a luxury -- it would seem. Of course, as luck would have it some teams can find or afford two aces but do not have the infinite resources to build around it a top-notch offense, defense, back of the rotation, bullpen...

But we all know that more than anything, starting pitching keeps you in games. For teams like the Giants, is "two aces" enough to keep you in the race? A quick look around baseball tells us this:

The Giants, with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, are finding out that one problem with putting so many hopes on the shoulders of two guys is that if one guy goes down -- be it injury or ineffectiveness -- it's hard to compete. With Lincecum really struggling, a struggling offense and average bullpen finds itself unable to stop a skid that has reached 7 games.

The Cardinals, with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, look like they may have enough to overcome the Reds in the end as is, but lose one of those guys to injury? I think the Reds immediately become the favorite in the NL Central.

The Mariners, with Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez, built a team heavily dependent on starting pitching and defense, then lost Lee for April, stumbled out of the gate, and have never really recovered. Even now that Lee and Hernandez are dealing big time, the Mariners are mostly winning their starts and losing the rest.

The bottom line? Two aces are an awesome luxury to have, but they are still only 8% of your team and ultimately it shows. Pitching may win games, but hitting and defense can lose games and so can your #4 starter.