Ranking Mets’ pitching opponents with the B-R Play Index tool

After using the Baseball-Reference Play Index tool last week to look at the batters who did the best against the Mets, now it’s time to see which opposing pitchers did the best. We’re going to have a minimum of 100 IP against the Mets to qualify for these lists. We’ll list the top 10 pitchers in standard categories and maybe a note or two on top of that to flush things out. There were 181 pitchers who met our innings requirement.

Games
1. Kent Tekulve, 114; 2. Lee Smith, 85; 3. Steve Carlton, 76; 4. Gene Garber, 75; 5. Bruce Sutter, 70; 6. John Smoltz, 70; 7. Ron Reed, 67; 8. Phil Niekro, 67; 9. Greg Maddux, 66; 10.Dave Giusti, 60.

No surprise that relievers dominate the list and the starters are all big-name players with lengthy careers. Perhaps the biggest surprise to me is that the games total isn’t higher. Given that he pitched for the Cubs, Cardinals and Braves – my expectation is that Sutter would have been pushing 100 games against the Mets.

ERA
1. Sandy Koufax, 1.44; 2. Bob Friend, 1.61; 3. Garber, 1.69; 4. Alan Foster, 1.76; 5. Jack Billingham, 1.81; 6. J.R. Richard, 1.90; 7. Gary Nolan, 2.09; 8. Claude Osteen, 2.09. 9. Vern Law, 2.13; 10. Juan Marichal, 2.13.

Again, no surprise that this list is dominated with guys who pitched in the 1960s, when the Mets weren’t good and when baseball as a whole was going through a low-offense period. The surprise are the big-name hurlers who don’t crack the top 10 – Don Drysdale (14), Jim Bunning (28) and Bob Gibson (33,) to name just three. The top pitcher to appear in at least some games from the 21st Century? The great Pedro Martinez, with a 2.21 ERA, the 11th-best mark.

Wins
1. Maddux, 35; 2. Carlton, 30; 3. Gibson, 28; 4. Marichal, 26; 5. Niekro, 25; 6. Drysdale 24; 7. Mike Krukow, 22; 8. Larry Jackson, 21; 9. Burt Hooton, 21; 10, Jim Maloney, 19.

You could have given me 100 guesses and I wouldn’t have come up with Krukow.

Saves
1. Smith, 38; 2. Sutter, 38; 3. Smoltz, 24; 4. Tug McGraw, 22; 5. Garber, 16; 6. Tekulve, 12; 7. Reed, 11; 8. Giusti, 10; 9. Woodie Fryman, 7; 10, Four tied with 5, including Niekro.

A few surprises here, perhaps the biggest one being how high Smoltz ranks given that he was only a reliever for a few years. It just goes to show how different bullpens are used today. Also, a surprise to see how high our old pal McGraw places, given for how long he pitched with the Mets. And given how many appearances he had against the Mets, the fact that Tekulve isn’t higher on the list caught me off guard. One thing to keep in mind is that this is not the real leader list, as there are many guys with more Saves against the Mets but who’ve yet to reach 100 innings against the club. Kenley Jansen has 12 Saves in 28.1 IP against them.

Innings
1. Carlton, 550.2; 2. Maddux, 428.1; 3. Niekro, 393; 4. Gibson, 385; 5. Marichal, 342.1; 6. Rick Reuschel, 314.1; 7. Jerry Reuss, 309; 8. Smoltz, 308.2; 9. Steve Rogers, 283; 10. Don Sutton, 278.2.

Nice to see perpetually underrated Reuschel and Reuss make the list.

Home Runs Allowed
1. Carlton, 37; 2 Fergie Jenkins, 33; 3. Smoltz, 30; 4. Maddux, 28; 5. Livan Hernandez, 28; 6. Reuschel, 28; 7. Niekro, 27; 8. Marichal, 25; 9. Tom Glavine, 24; 10. Gibson 23.

Is it wrong that seeing Glavine’s name here brought a smile to my face?

Strikeouts
1. Carlton, 464; 2. Gibson, 306; 3. Maddux, 291; 4. Smoltz, 280; 5. Niekro, 248; 6. Marichal, 241; 7. Maloney, 232; 8. Jenkins, 222; 9. Cole Hamels, 218; 10. Gaylord Perry, 201.

If someone asks you for a record that will never be broken besides the all-time win mark, you can tell them Carlton’s strikeouts against the Mets.

Now, let’s take one look at the flip side Here are the 10 pitchers with the highest lifetime ERA against the Mets.

1. Brad Penny, 6.50; 2. Bruce Ruffin, 5.56; 3. Russ Ortiz, 5.50; 4. Mike LaCoss, 5.12; 5. Mike Morgan, 5.12; 6. Ryan Dempster, 5.06; 7. Danny Cox, 5.02; 8. Bob Walk, 4.91; 9. Ricky Nolasco, 4.88; 10. Bruce Kison, 4.79.

Penny, Ortiz, Dempster and Nolasco probably would have been my first four guesses, if not in that order.

1 comment for “Ranking Mets’ pitching opponents with the B-R Play Index tool

  1. April 8, 2020 at 11:22 am

    What no Charlie Kerfeld? Or John Rocker?

    Glad to see Rick Reuschel make the list though.

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