These MLB pitchers go cold against these opponents

July 5, 2022 08:55 PM

After my report last week on the top pitcher-versus-opponent matchups in baseball, a reader asked if I could share the worst pitcher matchups as well. My answer: Of course. This information is just as valuable for bettors. 

In every sport, there are teams, players and coaches that simply fare worse against certain opponents than others. In the case of starting pitchers versus specific opponents, the reasons pitchers struggle are varied.

Whatever the underlying factor, the pitchers I’m about to detail almost always come up short of their normal standards in these specific matchups. Here’s a look at 15 of the worst pitcher-versus-opponent matchups, many of which could come into play during the rest of the regular season.

I’ve included dates for potential upcoming matchups, along with key stats and betting numbers. All information is from the pitcher’s current cold stretch, not necessarily career numbers against that team. The list is in alphabetical order.

Jose Berrios (Toronto) vs. Cleveland

Team record: 0-7 (0.0%), -9.31 units, ROI: -133.0%            

Individual record: 0-2      

Key stats: IP: 38.3, ERA: 4.7, WHIP: 1.384, Ks/9: 8  

Potential upcoming matchup: Aug. 12-14 at home  

Details: Berrios made our list last week for his good work against the Orioles. This week, a bad matchup against the Guardians is exposed. His teams have been beaten seven straight times, resulting in a loss of 9.31 units for backers. This -133% ROI is the second worst on this list.

Dylan Bundy (Minnesota) vs. Boston

Team record: 1-9 (10.0%), -8.05 units, ROI: -80.5%            

Individual record: 1-6      

Key stats: IP: 51.3, ERA: 5.96, WHIP: 1.54, Ks/9: 9.1

Potential upcoming matchup: Aug. 29-31 at home  

Details: The first eight games of this 10-game sample came while Bundy was with the Orioles, so it’s somewhat understandable why he has struggled against the Red Sox. In fact, he actually won his first start versus the Red Sox this season. That said, a 5.96 ERA in 10 starts versus a specific team is no accident. The Red Sox hit Bundy hard.

Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees) vs. Cincinnati

Team record: 1-12 (7.7%), -15.3 units, ROI: -117.7%          

Individual record: 1-8      

Key stats: IP: 73, ERA: 4.68, WHIP: 1.397, Ks/9: 10  

Potential upcoming matchup: July 12-14 at home   

Details: This is undoubtedly the most intriguing bit of data in this report. Cole is one of the top pitchers in baseball and has been for several years. Since leaving the National League following the 2017 season, he has only faced the Reds once, but he lost that game as a -185 favorite with the Astros. To show just how crazy this trend is, Cole has been favored in 11 of 13 games versus the Reds dating to 2014. There are three games next week in which we might get the chance to take advantage, and if Cole does go in one of them, he will be a massive favorite.

Patrick Corbin (Washington) vs. Atlanta

Team record: 0-7 (0.0%), -7.1 units, ROI: -101.4% 

Individual record: 0-7      

Key stats: IP: 36, ERA: 7.25, WHIP: 1.833, Ks/9: 10  

Potential upcoming matchups: July 8-10 at Atlanta, July 14-17 at home, Sept. 19-21 at Atlanta, Sept. 26-28 at home      

Details: Corbin’s recent struggles are well-documented, but his worst matchup has been against the Braves, and he has been facing them two or three times a year while with the Nationals. His statistics in this matchup are downright ugly and warrant the 0-7 team and individual records. We should get a chance at fading Corbin in this matchup as early as this weekend.

Kevin Gausman (Toronto) vs. Minnesota

Team record: 1-7 (12.5%), -9.1 units, ROI: -113.8%            

Individual record: 0-4      

Key stats: IP: 40.7, ERA: 7.3, WHIP: 1.45, Ks/9: 10.6

Potential upcoming matchup: None  

Details: This is another trend where the majority of games came while the pitcher was with another franchise. For Gausman, seven of the eight games came with the Orioles, although the most recent setback was about a month ago for the Blue Jays. In that game, he lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits, a clear continuation of consistent struggles versus the Twins for this ace-level hurler.

Lucas Giolito (Chicago White Sox) vs. Kansas City

Team record: 2-6 (25.0%), -8.93 units, ROI: -111.6%          

Individual record: 2-4      

Key stats: IP: 44, ERA: 5.32, WHIP: 1.25, Ks/9: 10.4 

Potential upcoming matchups: Aug. 1-3 at home, Aug. 9-11 at Kansas City, Aug. 22 at Kansas City, Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at home           

Details: The most interesting fact about this 2-6 trend for Giolito’s Sox versus the Royals: His team has been favored at an average of -181 in the eight games, with the shortest number being -125. His key stats in the matchup are obviously well below his recent standards, but it hasn’t helped that his team has only produced 3.3 RPG, including just seven combined runs in the last four outings. The three games at home were all losses.

Sonny Gray (Minnesota) vs. Boston

Team record: 1-7 (12.5%), -7.4 units, ROI: -92.5% 

Individual record: 1-7      

Key stats: IP: 35.7, ERA: 7.82, WHIP: 1.513, Ks/9: 8.1        

Potential upcoming matchup: Aug. 29-31 at home  

Details: I already revealed the struggles Bundy has had against the Red Sox. His teammate Sonny Gray has experienced an even worse run. Gray’s ERA in his last eight starts versus the Red Sox is a hefty 7.82. Even though this trend has come with four different franchises, it’s obvious this is not a good matchup for Gray.

Merrill Kelly (Arizona) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 

Team record: 0-8 (0.0%), -8 units, ROI: -100.0%       

Individual record: 0-7      

Key stats: IP: 42.3, ERA: 5.96, WHIP: 1.631, Ks/9: 7.9        

Potential upcoming matchups: Sept. 12-14 at home, Sept. 19-22 at Los Angeles 

Details: The Diamondbacks have lost all eight of Kelly’s starts against the Dodgers dating to August 2020. The stats aren’t ugly enough to warrant such a brutal skid, but it hasn’t helped that his team has mustered just 17 total runs of offense in the eight games. Kelly has been at least a + 155 dog each time out during this skid, so don’t expect anything different if he goes in either of the two September series.

Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers) vs. San Francisco

Team record: 4-7 (36.4%), -13.4 units, ROI: -121.8%          

Individual record: 2-6      

Key stats: IP: 64.3, ERA: 3.36, WHIP: 1.20, Ks/9: 8.68        

Potential upcoming matchups: July 21-24 at home, Aug. 1-4 at San Francisco, Sept. 5-7 at home, Sept. 16-18 at San Francisco

Details: Kershaw appeared two times on last week’s top matchups list, and I wrote that it was interesting that neither of the two opponents was a divisional rival. In this matchup, the Giants have proven to be a tough foe for Kershaw. The former Cy Young winner’s stats are respectable, albeit below his normal numbers. The biggest factor has been run support. His team has averaged 7.0 RPG in the four wins but just 2.4 RPG in the seven losses.

Lance Lynn (Chicago White Sox) vs. Houston

Team record: 1-9 (10.0%), -8.6 units, ROI: -86.0% 

Individual record: 1-8      

Key stats: IP: 60, ERA: 6, WHIP: 1.483, Ks/9: 11.1   

Potential upcoming matchup: Aug. 15-18 at home  

Details: Interestingly, Lynn has posted some big-time strikeout numbers versus the Astros in his career. The rest of the numbers have been nowhere near his usual standards. The result has been nine team losses in 10 games. Lynn’s numbers have been made even worse as his teams have scored just 2.4 RPG in the series, a horrible combination for backers.

Jordan Montgomery (New York Yankees) vs. Baltimore

Team record: 2-6 (25%), -10.67 units, ROI: -133.4%           

Individual record: 1-0      

Key stats: IP: 40, ERA: 3.60, WHIP: 1.25, Ks/9: 8.1    

Potential upcoming matchups: July 22-24 at Baltimore, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at home  

Details: The stats in Montgomery’s recent outings versus the Orioles wouldn’t suggest such a poor return on investment for backers, but he’s been the victim of overpricing by oddsmakers and inconsistent run support from his Yankees team. The -133.4% ROI is the highest on this list, making the remaining series between the Yankees and Orioles  noteworthy.

Charlie Morton (Atlanta) vs. St. Louis

Team record: 1-8 (11.1%), -7.35 units, ROI: -81.7%            

Individual record: 1-6      

Key stats: IP: 48, ERA: 3.94, WHIP: 1.271, Ks/9: 5.8 

Potential upcoming matchups: July 6-7 at home, Aug. 26-28 at St. Louis  

Details: It appears Morton won’t go in a four-game set this week against the Cardinals. His teams’ lone victory in his last nine starts against the Cardinals did come with the Braves in 2021, with the eight losses coming while Morton was with the Pirates. This is another trend that might need more analysis, as Morton was given just 13 runs of support in the Pirates’ eight losses. 

Joe Musgrove (San Diego) vs. St. Louis

Team record: 1-8 (11.1%), -7.2 units, ROI: -80.0% 

Individual record: 1-7      

Key stats: IP: 46.7, ERA: 6.36, WHIP: 1.52, Ks/9: 10.8        

Potential upcoming matchups: Sept. 20-22 at home

Details: Here’s another matchup in which the Cardinals are the opponent, and at first glance it’s almost identical to the trend of Morton. Again, it was the Pirates who lost all eight games in the trend and Musgrove won the most recent start with his new team. However, unlike Morton, Musgrove has earned his losses pitching rather poorly by his standards. The WHIP of 1.52 is particularly ugly, and for the record, he allowed five hits and four walks in his 2021 start versus the Cardinals for the Padres. This situation seems more playable than the trend on Morton.

Aaron Nola (Philadelphia) vs. Miami

Team record: 5-11 (31.3%), -13.2 units, ROI: -82.5%          

Individual record: 3-8      

Key stats: IP: 98.3, ERA: 3.75, WHIP: 1.078, Ks/9: 10         

Potential upcoming matchups: July 15-17 at Miami, Aug. 9-11 at home, Sept. 6-8 at home, Sept. 13-15 at Miami 

Details: This trend goes back the furthest of any on the list in terms of appearances, as Nola has had plenty of chances to get it right versus the Marlins. He’s had some great outings in the 16-game stretch and he’s had some awful ones, but the bottom line is backing the Phillies versus the Marlins with Nola pitching has been a losing proposition. 

Trevor Rogers (Miami) vs. Atlanta

Team record: 0-7 (0.0%), -7.1 units, ROI: -101.4% 

Individual record: 0-5      

Key stats: IP: 31.3, ERA: 6.04, WHIP: 1.502, Ks/9: 10.1      

Potential upcoming matchup: None

Details: To put this trend in perspective, against all the other teams, Rogers has produced + 0.5 units of return. Against the Braves, he has lost 7.1 units for bettors. This is another situation where the pitcher has earned the record. Rogers’ 6.04 ERA stands as evidence of his inability to get Braves hitters out consistently.

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