As a fan who roots for the Dodgers, I find three recurring elements of the game more frustrating than any other.
The first is leaving runners on base. I'm sure every fan of every other team feels this way about their team, too, but the Dodgers I am positive have led the league in runners stranded for at least the last 35 consecutive years.
The second is seeing a pitcher that your team surrendered willingly turn around and beat your team. I witnessed this with Eric Stults just a couple of days ago. I could sit here for 15 years and not come up with a reason why the Dodgers couldn't hit Stults.
The third is seeing a pitcher own your team year after year as if the only reason for his career is to beat the Dodgers. I've been aware of this one since I could root for a specific team.
Over the years, I've come to know certain pitchers dominate the Dodgers. John Candelaria, Dennis Martinez, Mario Soto, Chris Carpenter. But I never had any numbers to back it up. Was it just a feeling I had that the Dodgers couldn't hit these guys or was it actually so?
This has gnawed at me for literally years. But the Stults performance and an article I read on Sports On Earth a couple of months ago, finally pushed me into action.
Which pitchers have performed the best against the Dodgers?
So, I went to baseball-reference.com and I made a list. I restricted the list to the top 30 pitchers. And each of those pitchers had to have thrown at least 100 innings against the Dodgers.
That eliminated a number of relief pitchers, a few of which I already knew did well against the Dodgers -- Scott Williamson, Floyd Youmans, Jeff Reardon. And this guy:
Al Hrabosky compiled a 0.92 ERA in 48 2/3 innings against the Dodgers.
There are also some pitchers who own the Dodgers who have not reached the allotted 100 innings, but when they do will definitely be on the list. Andrew Cashner (1.35 ERA) is one. Cliff Lee (1.48 ERA) is another. I hate seeing them in the "opposing pitcher" listing every time.
But the following are the top 30 pitchers with the most success against the Dodgers with at least 100 innings against them (yes, I fully realize I am defining success by ERA and there's probably a more effective tool, but I don't have the time to take a math class right now):
THEY OWN THE DODGERS
1. Hod Eller (1917-21, Reds): 1.28 ERA, 155 IP, 26 G, 11-7 W-L
2. Jon Matlack (1971-77, Mets): 1.81 ERA, 163.2 IP, 20 G, 12-5 W-L
3. J.R. Richard (1971-80, Astros): 1.86 ERA, 208 IP, 28 G, 15-4 W-L
4. Jeff Tesreau (1912-18, Giants): 1.90 ERA, 180.1 IP, 24 G, 12-9 W-L
5. Mike Cuellar (1959-68, Reds, Cardinals, Astros): 1.91 ERA, 113.1 IP, 26 G, 8-5 W-L
6. Hippo Vaughn (1913-21, Cubs): 1.97 ERA, 347.2 IP, 48 G, 22-17 W-L
7. Frank Miller (1916-19, 1921-23, Pirates, Braves): 2.02 ERA, 178.1 IP, 25G, 12-10 W-L
8. Fred Toney (1911-23, Cubs, Reds, Giants, Cardinals): 2.12 ERA, 326.2 IP, 45 G, 22-16 W-L
9. Pete Alexander (1911-30, Phillies, Cubs, Cardinals): 2.15 ERA, 577.2 IP, 76 G, 45-19 W-L
10. Andy Ashby (1991-2000, 2004, Phillies, Rockies, Padres, Braves): 2.22 ERA, 125.2 IP, 21 G, 8-3 W-L
12. Terry Mulholland (1986-1993, 1995-2001, 2006, Giants, Phillies, Cubs, Braves, Pirates, Diamondbacks): 2.25 ERA, 160 IP, 34 G, 9-7 W-L
13. Marv Grissom (1953-59, Giants, Cardinals): 2.26 ERA, 163.2, 50 G, 5-2 W-L
14. Gene Garber (1969-70, 1972, 1974-87, Pirates, Phillies, Braves): 2.27 ERA, 154.2 IP, 88 G, 11-6 W-L
15. Jake Peavy (2002-09, 2014, Padres, Giants): 2.28 ERA, 173.2 IP, 26 G, 14-3 W-L
16. Joey Hamilton (1994-98, 2001-03, Padres, Reds): 2.31 ERA, 109 IP, 16 G, 9-2 W-L
17. Ferdie Schupp (1913-21, Giants, Cardinals): 2.31 ERA, 175 IP, 27 G, 11-5 W-L
18. Slim Sallee (1908-21, Cardinals, Giants, Reds): 2.33 ERA, 231.1 IP, 40 G, 14-13 W-L
19. Dick Rudolph (1910-11, 1913-20, 1922-23, 1927, Giants, Braves): 2.34 ERA, 230.1 IP, 30 G, 14-12 W-L
20. Juan Marichal (1960-73, Giants): 2.36 ERA, 476 IP, 64 G, 37-18 W-L
21. Adam Eaton (2000-05, 2007-08, 2009, Padres, Phillies, Rockies): 2.37 ERA, 125.1 IP, 19 G, 10-3 W-L
22. Larry McWilliams (1978-89, Braves, Pirates, Cardinals, Phillies): 2.37 ERA, 121.1 IP, 24 G, 6-4 W-L
23. Dwight Gooden (1984-94, 2000, Mets, Astros): 2.38 ERA, 178 IP, 23 G, 14-5 W-L
24. Claude Hendrix (1911-13, 1916-20, Pirates, Cubs): 2.39 ERA, 176.2 IP, 26 G, 7-12 W-L
25. Ken Forsch (1970-80, Astros): 2.40 ERA, 221.1 IP, 60 G, 12-8 W-L
26. Dennis Martinez (1986-93, 1998, Expos, Braves): 2.40 ERA, 127.1 ERA, 22 G, 6-8 W-L
27. Bob Veale (1962-72, Pirates); 2.41 ERA, 220.2 IP, 37 G, 17-10 W-L
28. Woody Williams (1999-2007, Padres, Cardinals, Astros): 2.41 ERA, 130.2 IP, 19 G, 9-3 W-L
29. Phil Douglas (1914-15, 1917-22, Reds, Cubs, Giants): 2.42 ERA, 189.1 IP, 35 G, 14-13 W-L
30. Pete Schneider (1914-18, Reds): 2.42 ERA, 178.3 IP, 28 G, 12-10 W-L
The above 30 are the most despicable pitchers to ever take the mound. I spit on all of my dupes of them.
But before expectorating, a few observations:
1. As you can see, Martinez made the list just as I expected. John Candelaria did not, but he's not far off. He's 33rd on the list. I didn't find Mario Soto, and I didn't have the time to go looking for him, but one day I will.
2. I used Orioles cards of both Martinez and Cuellar because I was rushing. If I remember, I'll replace the Martinez card with an Expos Martinez card. As for Cuellar, I'd have go about purchasing a card of his prior to 1969 as I don't have anything of Cuellar earlier than 1971.
3. I listed only the years that these pitchers played for National League teams. I'm sure a couple of the more recent pitchers faced the Dodgers as a member of an American League team in interleague play.
4. There are a lot of pitchers from between 1910-20 when runs were at a premium. I suppose this is where one of those advanced stats would have been better than plain old ERA. But you don't come to Night Owl Cards for that.
5. I am not surprised by the number of Padres on this list. Andy Ashby, Jake Peavy, Joey Hamilton, Adam Eaton, Woody Williams. It just supports my theory that the Padres try against the Dodgers and don't against anyone else. Charming.
6. The Dodgers did that thing that a lot of teams do where they acquire a pitcher who does well against them, thinking they'll turn that magic against their opponents. The Dodgers picked up Ashby, Terry Mulholland, even Juan Marichal late in their careers. It didn't work.
7. I don't know how the Dodgers managed to step into a batter's box against J.R. Richard. Even as a kid I was well aware of how much Richard intimidated my team.
As painful as this list is, I'm glad I finally made it. I no longer have to wonder who is being a big meanie tormenting my team.
And it also gives me inspiration to figure out the pitchers who have done the WORST against the Dodgers.
That will be a lot more fun.
Now, excuse me. I have to spit on some doubles.