You Again? Most Pitching Starts Against Each Franchise

The Angels faced Jim Kaat as a starter 57 times, more times than they have faced any other starting pitcher.  That does seem like a lot, being more than a third of a full season worth of games and 0.7% of all the regular season games the Angels franchise has ever played.  But how does it compare to the number of starts accumulated by the most frequent starting pitcher opponent for other franchises?  The answer after the jump.

Here’s a list that includes, for each of the 30 current franchises, the pitcher who has started, over a career, the most regular season games against that franchise. Caveat: For the 16 franchises that date back to 1901 or earlier, the list only covers games back to 1918.

Angels: Jim Kaat, 57 starts
Astros: Phil Niekro, 61 starts
A’s: Early Wynn, 86 starts
Blue Jays: Roger Clemens, 49 Starts
Braves: Bob Friend, 74 starts
Brewers, Bert Blyleven, 51 starts
Cardinals: Warren Spahn, 115 starts
Cubs: Warren Spahn 74 starts
D’backs: Jake Peavy and Jason Schmidt, 29 starts
Dodgers: Robin Roberts, 86 starts
Giants: Warren Spahn, 108 starts
Indians: Red Ruffing, 84 starts
Mariners: Roger Clemens, 44 starts
Marlins: Tom Glavine, 49 starts
Mets: Steve Carlton, 76 starts
Nats/Expos: Tom Glavine 69 starts
Orioles: Early Wynn, 82 starts
Padres: Don Sutton, 60 starts
Phillies: Warren Spahn, 83 starts
Pirates: Warren Spahn, 95 starts
Rangers: Jim Kaat, 61 starts
Rays: Tim Wakefield, 36 starts
Red Sox: Early Wynn, 84 starts
Reds: Warren Spahn, 95 starts
Rockies: Kirk Reuter and Greg Maddux, 31 starts
Royals: Bert Blyleven, 65 starts
Tigers: Sad Sam Jones and Red Ruffing, 82 starts
Twins: Red Ruffing. 70 starts
White Sox: Red Ruffing, 75 starts
Yankees: Early Wynn, 100 starts

In 10% of all the regular season games the Marlins have ever played (and 15% of the post-season games they have ever played), the opposition starter has come from a group of ten men: Glavine, Maddux, Trachsel, Smoltz, Brett Myers, Hampton, Millwood, Astacio, Lieber or Livan Hernandez.

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Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
10 years ago

Vaguely related factoid I heard on ESPN: Jamie Moyer has pitched against 7.9% of all the players in MLB hisory. Yikes! I don’t know who’s who’s second, I’d guess Nolan Ryan?

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
10 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Birtelcom- thanks! Looks like I really nailed that one (not that it was that difficult…).

It’s before the P-I era, but I imagine Cy Young would be up there too, as he pitched the most innings ever, and split time somewhat equally between leagues. On the down size, rosters were considerably smaller most of his career (1890-1911).

Hartvig
Hartvig
10 years ago

Of course the guys that pitched back in the days of 8 team leagues are going to have much higher numbers but Warren Spahn’s dominance is still pretty impressive. It really stands out that of the 8 original National League teams he’s the leader vs all but his own Braves and the Dodgers. It does seem a little amazing that since the Braves were in contention for the best team in the National League for most of the 50’s and the Dodgers were the other top contender for that title that it does appear that at least some effort was… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
10 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

I have mentioned in prior posts that in the mid-1950s the Dodgers always roughed up Spahn at Ebbets Field so badly that the Braves simply did not let him pitch there.

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
10 years ago

I’ve heard the same thing about Whitey Ford and Fenway Park, how he pitched so badly there that the Yankees eventually stopped usibg him at all there.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
10 years ago
Reply to  Lawrence Azrin

You’re right about Ford. After checking his career splits I saw that in 16 years he had only 12 starts at Fenway. His ERA there was 6.16 and his WHIP was 1.848.

kds
kds
10 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Spahn, of course, was a (great lefty). The “Boys of Summer” Dodgers were almost all RHB except for the Duke. At that time they still went for matchups to some extent, based on quality and handedness, instead of just a simple rotation. I wonder if something similar was going on with the Cubs, or did he face them fewer times because they weren’t very good.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
10 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

Games started:
L.Grove……457
E. Wynn……612
Ruffing……538

Shping
Shping
10 years ago

Heard that last night, too. Amazing!

And Moyer fans, looking ahead, i discovered this nugget by accident today: the April 29 probable pitchers for Rockies and Mets are Moyer vs. knuckleballer RA Dickey. Wow, could be a fun matchup for the ages! (I wonder what the over/under would be for fastest pitch in that game by a starter? 82? 80?)

bstar
bstar
10 years ago

That’s really bizarre that Greg Maddux tops the Rockies list, considering he only played in the same division with Colorado in 1993 with the Braves and 2 1/2 seasons with LAD/SD at the end of his career.

Matt Cain now has 26 starts against the Rockies, so he certainly will pass Reuter and Maddog ~ sometime next year.

Chris
10 years ago
Reply to  bstar

I was also surprised to see Maddux as the co-leader for starts against the Rockies, as well as Roger Clemens tops against the Mariners.

Shping
Shping
10 years ago

Good info guys. Instead of “Spahn and Sain…”, guess they could have said, “Spahn a-gain, and a-gain, makes hitting a pain.”

I know; i need to work on my poetry, but at least it’s almost a haiku.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
10 years ago
Reply to  Shping

Spahn in the springtime
And again in the summer
With balls in the fall

James Smyth
10 years ago

Funny that Early Wynn is the leader for Yankees, Red Sox and Orioles while Red Ruffing leads for the Tigers, Indians, White Sox and Indians. Those guys preceded divisional play but it just breaks down like that.

John Autin
Editor
10 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Also, in pre-expansion days, the idea of a pitching rotation was less fixed — managers were more apt to jigger the rotation based on the opponent.

So on the same team in the same year — say, 1959 Tigers — you could have Don Mossi starting 8 games against the Yankees, while staff ace Jim Bunning saw them only 3 times.

Doug
Editor
10 years ago

Clemens tops the list only for the expansion twins – Mariners and Blue Jays.

Toronto fixed that problem (temporarily) by going out and signing Roger.