On owning a Major League pitcher

On owning a Major League pitcher
June 20, 2012, 8:48 pm
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Last night at Fenway, Kelly Shoppach hit a home run.

This was naturally a little weird, because Kelly Shoppach is Kelly Shoppach. The second inning blast was only his fourth of the season and the 63rd of his eight-year career.

But what wasn't weird is that Shoppach's homer came against Mark Buehrle, a typically-solid pitcher who the typically scant-hitting catcher has absolutely owned over his career. How owned? This owned: After last night, Shoppach's a lifetime 8-18 with four home runs against Buehrle.

Anyway, it got me thinking: How rare is it to see one batter so ruthlessly dominate a particular pitcher?

Answer: It would take much longer than one afternoon to figure out.

So instead and with a little (OK, a lot) of help from Baseball-Reference I went through the hitting history of the Red Sox should-be starting nine (only with Youkilis in for Middlebrooks for history's sake) and picked out the pitchers who each guy has dominated the most during his career.

Does anyone hold a candle to Shoppach?

The answer lies ahead (with a helping hand from Drunk Chris Berman):

Jarrod Saltalamacchia has 51 career homers, and there are only three pitchers against whom he's hit more than one. But it's interesting to note that in all three cases, Salty's two homers have come in a tiny, dominating span of at-bats. He's 4-4 with two homers and a double against Arizona's Jensen Lewis Can't Lose. He's 3-5 with two homers against the White Sox Philip Humb and Humber and 2-3 with two homers against now-retired Mike Bacsik Instinct, who's much better known as the guy who served up Barry Bonds' record 756th homer.

Going around the infield, Adrian Gonzalez is 4-5 with two homers against Rich Jean Claude van den Hurk. For a large sample size, Gonzalez is 7-10 with two homers and three RBI against Colby College Lewis and 7-10 with with two homers and five RBI against Ramon A the Pest Ortiz.

Dustin Pedroia has four homers in 17 at-bats against David "I'm Keith Hernandez" Hernandez, but those are his only hits. He's also 4-7 with two homers and seven RBI against Rafael Betancourt Room Drama and 11-21 with one homer and four RBI against Joba the Hut Chamberlain.

Mike Aviles is 9-16 with a home run against Freddy Got Fingered Garcia.

Like Salty, Kevin Youkilis has had his way with Jensen Lewis Can't Lose to the tune of 7-10 with a homer and three RBI. He's also 5-7 against now-retired Todd Williams-Sonoma and is an impressive 4-7 with two homers against current Red Sox teammate Alfredo "I'm not going to give him a nickname for fear of him devouring my unborn children" Aceves.

In the outfield, Jacoby Ellsbury's 8-16 with three homers and eight RBI against Brandon Just Thinking Aout To Morrow and 2-5 with two homers against Orioles hurler Jake Arrieta Huffington. For pure average, Jacoby is a perfect 5-5 against Detroit's Rich Porcello Pudding Pop and 5-7 against Toronto's Scott Brand Paper Towels Richmond.

Carl Crawford hasn't been especially dominant of any pitcher, but he does have two homers in three at-bats against retired-Royal Shawn Sedlacek Eye Surgery. As far as guys who are still active, Crawford greatest success has come equally against Brad Take a Penny Leave a Penny and Livan La Vida Loca Hernandez. CC is 7-11 with a homer and three RBI against each. (He's also 21-69 against CC).

For the third Sox outfielder, let's go with Cody Ross, who's a ridiculous 6-6 with a homer and seven RBI against Mark St. John's Redman.

Lastly, the DH. David Ortiz loves him some Seth Mayor McClung. Ortiz is 4-8 with four homers and seven RBI against the former Raycurrent Brewer. In terms of average, Papi has two favorites (although both have since retired): He was 8-12 against former Indian Chuck Nagy Bragy Heart and 11-18 with a homer and three doubles against former White Sox left Jim Parque Floor.

And that's a wrap.

I'd like to thank Kelly Shoppach and Mark Buehrle for inspiring this post. Baseball-Reference for all the awesome info. And of course, Drunk Chris Berman for his valuable time and effort.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine