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Cory Snyder vs Roger Clemens

Posted by Andy on March 16, 2009

When I was a lad in 1988, I recall reading a blurb about a Cory Snyder plate appearance against Roger Clemens. I don't recall where I read it--perhaps in the newspaper. It said that in a recent game, Snyder hit a routine fly ball out against Clemens but when he returned to the dugout, Snyder received high fives from his teammates. The reason? Snyder apparently had struck out in every career plate appearance against Clemens prior to the fly ball.

The batter-vs-pitcher logs prove it:

  Car# Year Date          Tm   Opp Score       Inn RoB Out Cnt Pit Play Desc.
     1 1986 1986-08-30    CLE @BOS tied   0-0  t 2 ---   1  -      Strikeout                 
     2                             down   0-4  t 5 ---   0  -      Strikeout Looking         
     3                             down   2-7  t 7 -2-   0  -      Strikeout                 

  Car# Year Date          Tm   Opp Score       Inn RoB Out Cnt Pit Play Desc.
     4 1987 1987-05-27    CLE @BOS tied   0-0  t 2 ---   2  -      Strikeout                 
     5                             tied   0-0  t 5 ---   1  -      Strikeout                 
     6                             down   0-1  t 7 ---   2  -      Strikeout                 
     7      1987-08-30    CLE  BOS down   0-3  b 2 12-   0  -      Strikeout                 
     8                             down   1-4  b 4 1-3   0  -      Strikeout                 
     9                             down   3-6  b 6 ---   0  -      Strikeout                 

  Car# Year Date          Tm   Opp Score       Inn RoB Out Cnt Pit Play Desc.
    10 1988 1988-06-29    CLE @BOS ahead  1-0  t 2 ---   1 0-0   1 Flyball: RF               
    11                             down   1-4  t 5 ---   0 0-0   1 Flyball: LF               
    12                             down   1-4  t 7 ---   2 1-2   4 Strikeout Looking         
    13      1988-09-30    CLE  BOS ahead  1-0  b 1 -2-   1 1-2   4 Strikeout Swinging        
    14                             ahead  3-0  b 3 ---   2 0-2   3 Flyball: 2B               
    15                             ahead  3-1  b 5 1-3   2 1-2   4 Foul Flyball: 1B          
    16                             ahead  4-2  b 8 ---   0 2-2   5 Strikeout Looking         

That's 9 strikeouts in the first 9 PAs until he finally hit that fly ball. Only 4 pitchers struck Snyder out more than Clemens, and they all had more PAs in which to do it. And while Clemens and Bert Blyleven both struck Snyder out 12 times, look at the difference in stats. Off Clemens, Snyder managed only 2 singles for a .087 SLG. Off Blyleven, Snyder hit 4 HR, 1 2B, 1 3B, and had 7 RBI and a .821 SLG. Geez.

15 Responses to “Cory Snyder vs Roger Clemens”

  1. statboy Says:

    FWIW, here's part of an article about it.
    The Boston Globe, August 31st, 1987

    CLEVELAND - Forget the mop of Texas hair and the song of Texas drawl and replace them with black curls and a seductive coo; Roger Clemens is Lucy Van Pelt. Forget the blond locks and the home run swing and replace them with a single ringlet atop the dome and the unkindest cut of all; Cory Snyder is Charlie Brown. "Come on," Cy Young Lucy purrs from the mound. "Please. This time I promise. Really." "Good grief!" mustachioed Charlie replies from the bench. Yet he goes out there every time. It is not a football waiting to be kicked on a fall day. It is a baseball asking to be hit by the summertim...

  2. spudart Says:

    dude, your blog just rocks. Posts like this. They are fantastic. I follow a ton of blogs and site, and honestly, this has to be one of the top ten blogs out there. I should make a top ten blog list and include yours in it.

  3. Andy Says:

    thanks, although I am just one of several authors here. You are a frequent commenter too--although I forget if here or on my baseball card blogs?

  4. Raphy Says:

    Andy, you sparked my curiosity.

    (Bruce Ruffin struck out in all 9 PA against Doc Gooden, but that doesn't count.)

    He only got to 8, but Andres Galarraga is still waiting to hit the ball off of Rob Dibble.

    Also, does anyone know if there is a player and pitcher match-up more one sided than Ray Durham vs. Mariano Rivera? Durham was 0-26 and was only able to get the ball out of the infield twice. He did manage to reach base once on an E3.

  5. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    I seem to remember Clemens owning Torii Hunter. Lemme see... yup:

  6. damthesehigheels Says:

    i remember this from a blooper video!

  7. cheeseboy10000 Says:

    Raphy - I'm wondering how you have enough time on your hands to come up with Durham v Rivera...

  8. Andy Says:

    Raphy never ceases to amaze me.

  9. Raphy Says:

    I just took five minutes (alright it was probably more like ten) to look around at a few high-strikeout pitchers and searched to see who they faced the most often with an OBP of .000 .
    If PI could ever do a global search on these things, it would be a lot of fun.

  10. leatherman Says:

    How about a pitcher owning a hitter over a single season? In 1999, Pedro Martinez faced Jay Buhner 8 times and struck him out 8 times:

    Buhner did manage to make contact on five foul balls.

  11. tomepp Says:

    Now there's a total shocker -- a guy who struck out 100 times in 266 AB versus a pitcher who struck out 251 in 233 2/3 IP, and the outcome was... 8 Ks in 8 AB! Who'da thunk it?

    Jay struck out in 23.7% of all his career PA, while Pedro struck out 27.8% of all batters he's faced to date. Still, those percentages would indicate a likelihood of 2 or 3 K's in 8 PA, not 8-for-8.

  12. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Tomepp, I'm not aware of any studies on the likely outcomes of specific pitcher-batter matchups, or pitcher-types vs. batter-types. But intuitively it makes sense to me that you can't simply average out the strikeout percentages for the most likely outcome. The two probably work together exponentially in some way. A high-K pitcher vs. a high-K batter will probably usually result in a ton of K's.

  13. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Just to test this, I'm going to look at top strikeout batters and pitchers over the past few seasons, and see how they did head-to-head.

    2008: Burnett vs. Cust - 3 K in 6 PA; Lincecum vs. Reynolds - 3 K in 7 PA
    2007: Kazmir vs. Cust - 1 K in 3 PA; Peavy vs. Howard - 0 K in 3 PA
    2006: Santana vs. Granderson - 2 K in 3 PA; Peavy vs. Dun - 4 K in 6 PA

    That's 13 strikeouts in 28 PA (46%). Obviously a very small sample, but it isn't the quickest thing to check, so I'll stop here for now.

  14. tomepp Says:

    Johnny, you're absolutely right - you can't just average strikeout rates. Many of Jay's 76% non-K plate appearances came against non-K pitchers (the Jeff Suppans), and likewise many of the 72% non-K plate appearances against Pedro were by disciplined hitters (the Nomar Garciaparras). I was totally wrong in implying that they should be averaged to determine the probable outcome. Still, I think 8 Ks in 8 PAs is an outlier in any case.

  15. mccombe35 Says:

    take a look at Frank Thomas vs Nolan Ryan