Comments on: Josh Beckett vs. Yankees (UPDATED) This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Card of the Week: 1955 Bowman #178 Tom Brewer » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Wed, 11 Aug 2010 12:32:04 +0000 [...] chose Tom Brewer as my subject because he came up second on my list of worst ERAs against the Yankees since 1955. Brewer also pitched in 1954 and his overall record against the Yankees isn't [...]

By: Kahuna Tuna Wed, 11 Aug 2010 06:35:19 +0000 The 1920s-30s stats shown in my previous post are for all pitcher appearances, not just starts. Vern Kennedy's numbers are sufficiently gruesome that I decided to delve into his starts against the Yankees. You may cringe when ready.

4 W, 13 L (.235 Pct.), 7.46 ERA
19 GS, 101.1 IP, 124 H
84 ER
15 HR
68 BB, 37 SO
1.89 WHIP

In seven starts during the 1939 and 1940 seasons (career starts 9 to 15 against the Yankees), Kennedy four times left the game after having retired only one batter. Ouch.

It was a later pitcher, Bill Kennedy, whose career, as Bill James remarked, effectively ended when he was traded to the Browns. The same could be said of Vern Kennedy, whose overall numbers were not especially good (95 ERA+ in just over 2,000 IP), but who at least pitched creditably in his starts against the mighty Yankees during his White Sox and Tigers years (2-5, too many walks but less than a hit per inning, 4.60 ERA). After he was acquired by the Browns, the Yankees made him look like a rank amateur, especially in his nine starts against them in 1939-40 (2-6, 57 H and 27 BB in 37 IP, 11.19 ERA). Vern Kennedy never allowed fewer than four runs in any of his 19 career starts against New York, which sounds awful; but what truly is awful is that, after 1938, in eight of his 11 starts against the Yankees, Kennedy allowed more earned runs than innings pitched.

Kennedy at least could plead the excuse that he had some miserable teams behind him. Josh Beckett can't fall back on that. One other thing about Beckett: His 6.23 career ERA against the Yankees is not the worst he has posted against another team in his division. His career ERA against the Blue Jays is over 7.00 in 13 career starts.

By: Kahuna Tuna Wed, 11 Aug 2010 03:28:05 +0000 As a follow-up to Andy's post #2, here are the 1920s-1930s pitchers with the ten worst ERAs against the Yankees, minimum 19 starts:

Vern Kennedy: 26 G, 19 GS, 7.39 ERA
George Blaeholder: 56 G, 33 GS, 6.49 ERA
Jack Knott: 44 G, 23 GS, 6.30 ERA
Danny MacFayden: 30 G, 21 GS, 6.11 ERA
Vic Sorrell: 48 G, 41 GS, 6.08 ERA
Elden Auker: 42 G, 27 GS, 5.98 ERA
Roy Mahaffey: 42 G, 23 GS, 5.80 ERA
Red Ruffing: 24 G, 19 GS, 5.65 ERA and a 1-16 W-L record
Tommy Thomas: 47 G, 27 GS, 5.63 ERA
Oral Hildebrand: 31 G, 25 GS, 5.59 ERA

Milt Gaston's and Slim Harriss's 5.38 career ERAs against the Yankees don't rate a mention here, but their respective 4-26 and 6-19 W-L records against them do. Bob Weiland was 0-11. It's unbelievable how many pitchers from those years have their worst career records and/or ERAs against the Yankees.

Doesn't work if your first name is Dennis.

Denny Galehouse (1934-49): 63 G, 38 GS, 3.31 ERA against the Yankees — his best against any opposing team. His Yankee Stadium ERA and WHIP were the best he compiled in any ballpark.

The Yanks' domination of starting pitchers named Dennis might be the single biggest change that has taken place in baseball since the expansion era began. Then again, it might not.

By: 8+ ER in 8+ IP » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Wed, 11 Aug 2010 02:01:41 +0000 [...] You Are Here > > Blog > Baseball Stats and Analysis Baseball Reference Blog Numbers, News, and Notes « Josh Beckett vs. Yankees (UPDATED) [...]

By: Gerry Wed, 11 Aug 2010 00:50:34 +0000 I note that three of the ten pitchers have winning records against the Yanks despite the huge ERAs, and one more is 6-6. Doesn't work if your first name is Dennis.

By: Kahuna Tuna Tue, 10 Aug 2010 19:52:20 +0000 My comment about Elias came off sounding more caustic than I wanted, Andy. Far be it from me to fan flames or encourage data poaching. You're right that Elias deserves credit for all the good (and difficult) work that they've done. I'm sure they've lighted the path for B-Ref in a number of ways. Most of my admiration is reserved for this site, though — y'all let me loiter here at no charge, and I don't have to be an employee or an official something-or-other of a major-league team to research neat stuff. Till Elias does the same thing, they'll have to risk my occasional snarky comments . . . though nothing worse than that.

By: Andy Tue, 10 Aug 2010 19:21:39 +0000 Kahuna, there has been at least one documented case of Elias throwing B-R under the bus, back before we had access to box scores going all the way back to 1920. If that's how they want to play this rivalry, fine--but I'm not going to play the same game. If someone from Elias were to read this post and perceive that I was poaching their finds, that would needlessly fan the flames of a fire that I (and I think nobody from B-R) has any interest in starting.

Just to be clear, I give Elias all the credit in the world for what they've achieved. Now they have some fair competition from this web site and the Play Index, but that doesn't detract from my admiration for their work.

By: Basmati Tue, 10 Aug 2010 19:21:21 +0000 I thought Esteban's comment above was a bit harsh but when I looked I was surprised to see Beckett's record is not as good as I might have thought given the hype he gets.

Based on this I would say Beckett is a very good pitcher with the ability to be great, but he has not performed consistently great. Beckett's W-L will be boosted by playing for Boston but then his ERA will take a bit of a pounding playing in the AL East (although he doesn't have to face Boston).

I have to say I find baseball contracts hard to fathom sometimes. Beckett was on under $7m in 2007 when he had a great year at age 27. Yet he is contracted to earn $15.75m each of the next 4 years at age 31-34. I know pitchers can go on a long time but on current form you have to wonder if the Red Sox are getting nervous about that? Especially considering John Lackey hasn't worked out too great so far and he's due $15.25m each of the next 4 years also. That's $31m for 4 years to two pitchers who have not performed well this year. Lackey has a career 5.12 ERA at Fenway and Beckett 4.60.

Good job they've got Lester signed up cheap until 2014.

By: Kahuna Tuna Tue, 10 Aug 2010 19:16:27 +0000 I need to credit Elias for digging up a similar stat

No, Andy, you don't. But it's very gracious of you to do so.

I would guess that if the Padres made the World Series and Mat Latos threw two complete-game shutouts in route to a Padres WS win, he would have the same hype Beckett did.

I would dearly love to find out whether this is true. (-;þ

By: Bryan Mueller Tue, 10 Aug 2010 18:33:06 +0000 I think when you dominate a team like the Yankees in the World Series, you tend to get labeled as a great pitcher, even if you don't live up to the expectations. Beckett's stuff can no doubt be nasty, but his stuff isn't (compared to greats) consistently nasty. I would guess that if the Padres made the World Series and Mat Latos threw two complete-game shutouts in route to a Padres WS win, he would have the same hype Beckett did.