Goldschmidt Versus Lincecum: Is There a More Hitter-Friendly Matchup?
Paul Goldschmidt has provided a lot of excitement these first two weeks, teeing off on the former NL Cy Young winner,
In the first matchup, Goldy went 2 for 3 on the game, hitting another homer, knocking in two runs on the deep fly. He came back hungry for more in the second outing, swatting another dinger, this time for three runs. After that, he hit a sac fly to record his sixth RBI of the season against Lincecum.
Goldy’s numbers against Lincecum to date are 13 for 24, a .542/.536/1.458 line, seven home runs, a double and 17 RBI. This is perhaps the most one-sided matchup hitter-pitcher matchup ever. (Note: Goldschmidt actually has a worse OBP than average against Lincecum because of sacrifice flies.)
Having said that, it was only fair to look back at some of the best in the game - the past 10 MVP winners (five from each league) - to observe who they want to see on the mound the most. Also, this gives us a chance to see if the matchup is indeed better than Goldschmidt and Lincecum’s. (Note: Players needed to meet a minimum 20 plate appearances against each pitcher.)
Best Matchup: J.A. Happ
Cutch has come to the plate 28 times throughout his career against Happ, and he probably wishes the Blue Jay was still in the NL. McCutchen has four home runs and six RBI off of Happ and his line is .440/.500/.960. Happ should strongly consider pitching around Cutch if their paths ever cross again.
Best Matchup: Chad Billingsley
There’s at least one person in San Francisco who wants to see Billingsley back on the bump. In Buster Posey’s young career, he has three doubles and five RBI over the course of 30 plate appearances against him. He has yet to take the Dodger righty yard, but given that home runs are not his main game, it seemed more important that Posey has a .462 average and a .533 OBP against Billingsley.
Best Matchup: Tom Gorzelanny
Unfortunately, Braun has had yet another unfortunate turn of events, as the pitcher he rocks the best is now his teammate. The 2011 MVP has hit three home runs and two doubles through 31 plate appearances off of Gorzelanny, knocking in nine. His three home runs are tied for his second highest total off of any pitcher, but his .458 average is by far his best against anyone, as are his OBP (.581) and slugging percentage (.917).
Best Matchup: Zach Duke
The Reds have to like the fact that Votto does best against an NL Central pitcher above all others. Votto may only have one home run off of Duke to this point, but he has five doubles on 22 plate appearances. He also has a .550 clip against the lefty, and his OBP is an alarming .591.
Best Matchup: Odalis Perez
Pujols has a lot more MLB experience than any hitter mentioned to this point, so he has faced some pitchers 80-plus times. His best numbers came against the now retired lefty, Odalis Perez. Here is a line that should be branded in Perez’s mind: .615/.722/1.423. Of Pujols' 16 hits, 6 were home runs and 3 were doubles, knocking in 16 in the process. It’s no surprise that Perez move to the NL later in his career given those numbers.
Best Matchup: Phil Hughes
Miggy must be licking his lips now that Hughes is pitching in the AL Central for the Twins. The reigning MVP had five balls leave the park when Hughes delivered them, knocking in 11 and shooting the gaps for 3 doubles. Cabrera has gotten a hit half the time and reached base at a .548 rate on 31 plate appearances.
Best Matchup: John Lackey
Hambone has gotten the better of his former Western Division rival to this point. In his 36 plate appearances, Hamilton has gotten four home runs and hit a double against the current Red Sox starter. His .414 clip is very good, as is his .862 slugging percentage.
Best Matchup: Freddy Garcia
The Minnesota-native has tattooed Garcia throughout his career, having faced him primarily during Garcia’s White Sox days. Through 38 plate appearances, Mauer has 2 home runs 6 RBI. His most impressive stat is not his .500 OBP, but his seven doubles that he has against Garcia.
Best Matchup: Brandon Morrow
Pedroia has one of the more unconventional swings in the bigs, but as everyone knows, he’s a stud. No pitcher recognizes the more than Morrow. The little man has hit a .522 clip to this point off of the Blue Jay, and he has hit two homers this year, as well as four doubles and six RBI.
Best Matchup: Esteban Loaiza
Even though these two were teammates for New York in 2004, A-rod put in some quality time against Loaiza. In 24 plate appearances, he hit 5 home runs and had a .522 clip. He also had 10 runs batted in and hit 2 doubles, too. Unfortunately for Rodriguez, Loaiza retired after the 2008 season, so he won’t ever face him again.
Having looked at the most recent MVP candidates, only one has had a better matchup against one given pitcher than Goldschmidt does against Lincecum - Albert Pujols against Odalis Perez. At the same time, Goldschmidt still has the best one amongst these hitters against active pitchers, based on this list.
All in all, Lincecum needs to make an adjustment and fans need to take notice for whenever Goldschmidt is facing Lincecum because there is nothing to compare it to in today’s game.