Tonight, as the Detroit Tigers faced the Baltimore Orioles, starter Max Scherzer, otherwise dominant, surrendered two hits, including a two-run homer, in the three times he faced Adam Jones. The damage done against Scherzer was nothing new for Jones, who is now 8-for-15 (.533) with a home run and two doubles lifetime off the pitcher. Those numbers don’t look good if you’re a Tiger fan, but they’re not the worst you’ll see.
Seeing the head-to-head numbers for Jones and Scherzer made me wonder what other matchups individual Detroit pitchers have struggled to win. Following are the top ten pitcher-hitter encounters the Tigers should hope to avoid, sorted by on-base plus slugging percentage and limited to matchups that have occurred at least 20 times:
|Shin-Soo Choo||Max Scherzer||21||12||2||1||2||5||6||4||0.571||1.714|
|David Murphy||Doug Fister||20||9||0||0||4||8||1||1||0.45||1.526|
|Justin Morneau||Max Scherzer||15||5||1||0||3||4||5||1||0.333||1.5|
|Placido Polanco||Anibal Sanchez||21||9||1||1||2||4||1||1||0.429||1.312|
|Nelson Cruz||Max Scherzer||22||9||2||0||2||5||1||5||0.409||1.208|
|Chase Utley||Anibal Sanchez||34||15||5||2||0||7||2||5||0.441||1.192|
|Alex Gordon||Max Scherzer||20||8||2||0||1||2||6||4||0.4||1.188|
|Juan Pierre||Rick Porcello||18||7||3||0||1||5||2||0||0.389||1.172|
|David Ortiz||Justin Verlander||24||8||4||0||2||4||3||7||0.333||1.157|
|B.J. Upton||Justin Verlander||21||9||2||0||1||5||2||5||0.429||1.145|
Fortunately for the Tigers, five of these hitters are currently employed by clubs in the National League. Two of those, Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco, play for the Philadelphia Phillies, who will travel to Detroit for a weekend series in July. Two players on the list, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy, are members of the Texas Rangers. Only two others, Justin Morneau and Alex Gordon, play in the American League Central.
The speed demon Pierre is just the kind of player who would thrive against Porcello, a ground ball pitcher. Interestingly, Scherzer appears on this list four times. The only surprise with Cruz is that he doesn’t appear more than once on the list.
In any case, these are a few matchups the Tigers would do well to stay away from.