Pitchers Joe Mauer Can't Hit: They Do Exist
Game after game, we see a hitter's numbers versus the pitcher on the mound pop up on the television screen, and we usually dismiss it.
Of course, each batter varies from pitcher to pitcher.
Even the best have a few pitchers they simply can't hit.
For Joe Mauer, however, it seems as though anytime those stats pop up, he's hitting, at the very least, .330 against the pitcher on the mound, no matter who it is, no matter which arm they throw with, and no matter how many at-bats he has against them.
This is what happens when you're a hitter who never strikes out and one of the best hitters in the game.
Out of curiosity, I felt the need to see if there are really any pitchers out there who can get Mauer out on a consistent basis.
The results are a bit odd, considering the pitchers who have actually had success against him.
I found that there really is no stopping Mauer. There is only a false hope that he may not feel like running the bases when he faces you, so he will get out on purpose.
We can all dream, can't we?
This one is extremely surprising.
Mark Buehrle is a guy who does not strike out a lot of batters and pitches a lot of balls into play. One would think that spells disaster when facing a hitter like Mauer.
Not the case.
In 44 plate appearances against Buehrle, Mauer has 11 hits (.256 AVG), one walk (.273 OBP), one home run (.419 SLG), six RBI, four doubles, and seven strikeouts.
Buehrle has the third-most battles against Mauer, behind John Danks (48 plate appearances) and Justin Verlander (50).
Mauer has 15 hits on both Danks and Verlander with three home runs, nine RBI, three doubles, and eight walks against Verlander and three doubles, six RBI, and four walks against Danks.
Mauer is batting .357 with a .460 OBP and 1.103 OPS against Verlander and .349 with a .417 OBP and .835 OPS against Danks.
It is safe to say Buehrle has had the most success against Mauer, with the most evidence to back it up.
This one is even more surprising.
Nate Robertson is right behind Buehrle in plate appearances for Mauer, with 41 for the six years he pitched for the Detroit Tigers, while Mauer was in the league.
In those 41 appearances, Mauer has 12 hits (.293 AVG), zero walks (.293 OBP), one home run (.415 SLG), seven RBI, two doubles, and three strikeouts.
Like I said, you can only hope to contain him.
What really puts Robertson on this Mauer stopper list is the fact he has never walked him and has limited the doubles.
Let Mauer get his singles, but when you walk him, you show him more pitches, which means he's going to eventually get you.
Robertson has faced Mauer the most times of any pitcher without walking him. Next is Javier Vazquez, who has not walked Mauer in 33 at-bats.
Here is where the list takes a turn.
We go from the soft tossers to hard-throwing Zack Greinke.
In 40 plate appearances, Mauer has 10 hits (.286 AVG), five walks (.375 OBP), zero home runs (.314 SLG), six RBI, one double, and five strikeouts.
If not for the walks, Greinke would have Mauer's number.
Greinke has Mauer at the lowest slugging percentage and OPS for pitchers who have faced him more than 40 times.
Back to the soft tossers we go.
Byrd saw Mauer plenty of times in his three years with the Cleveland Indians.
In 35 plate appearances, Mauer has five hits (.167 AVG), five walks (.286 OBP), zero home runs (.200 SLG), three RBI, one double, and zero strikeouts against Byrd.
Byrd is the word when holding Mauer in check. A .486 OPS for Mauer against any pitcher is simply amazing.
And yet another soft tosser.
Before Jon Garland was using and abusing Petco Park in San Diego, he was facing Mauer in the nightmare parks of U.S. Cellular Field and the Metrodome.
In 32 plate appearances, Mauer has seven hits (.250 AVG), four walks (.344 OBP), zero home runs (.286 SLG), six RBI, one double, and one strikeout.
Next to Byrd, Garland has Mauer for his lowest OPS (.629) for pitchers who have faced him more than 30 times.
This makes sense.
Sabathia battled Mauer for four-and-a-half years in the same division.
And Sabathia owns Mauer.
In 25 plate appearances, Mauer has five hits (.217 AVG), two walks (.280 OBP), zero home runs (.261 SLG), two RBI, one double, and nine strikeouts.
We don't have the most amount of evidence to go on, but the fact that Mauer has not struck out against any other pitcher more than Sabathia says something.
And yes, Mauer does not have 10 strikeouts against any pitcher. To put that into perspective, Detroit Tigers rookie Austin Jackson has already struck out against Scott Kazmir five times.
Random pitcher who has a high strikeout total against Mauer: Jimmy Gobble (seven in 27 plate appearances). Mauer has the last laugh, however, with 10 RBI against Gobble.
Pitchers with a high strikeout total on Mauer in a small amount of at-bats: Joel Zumaya (seven Ks in 12 plate appearances), Randy Choate (three Ks in six plate appearances) and Randy Johnson (three Ks in seven plate appearances).
Pitchers who have faced Mauer the most without giving up a hit: Mike Mussina and Kameron Loe have each held Mauer hitless in 10 at-bats.
Honorable mentions: Ron Mahay has given up just two hits in 14 plate appearances for Mauer. Jarrod Washburn has given up three hits to Mauer in 23 plate appearances, but has walked him seven times as well. Mike Maroth has given up just four singles and no walks to Mauer in 22 plate appearances.
So basically, there is no general rule to getting Mauer out. If you're a religious man, perhaps that helps, but even then you may need to sell your soul to the devil to stop Mauer.
Either that or talk to Paul Byrd. Open up the conversation with something about porn then go from there.