Red Sox

On owning a Major League pitcher

756850.jpg

On owning a Major League pitcher

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

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

cincinnati-reds-joe-morgan-hall-of-fame.jpg

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

mlb_rob_manfred_081414.jpg

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.