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Baseball Splits: Lefties vs. Righties

   by Matt Fargo - 05/27/2008

Starting pitching is one of the biggest factors when lines are set in baseball but one thing not often taken into consideration is what side of the mound the pitcher is throwing from. Some teams have greater success against left-handed pitching than right-handed pitching and vice versa and it is important to take that into consideration when capping games. We have gone through over 25 percent of the season and have some very solid numbers and statistics to look at.

The top five teams in hitting against left-handed pitching:

Boston Red sox .320

Detroit Tigers .301

Houston Astros .299

Los Angeles Dodgers .298

Chicago Cubs .295

Does this translate into wins? The records of those five teams against left-handed starters:

Boston Red sox 6-1

Detroit Tigers 6-3

Houston Astros 7-6

Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4

Chicago Cubs 11-7

As you can see, all five teams do in fact have winning records so a great average against southpaws can lead to some nice wins. Overall, the combined record is 40-21 so that is a great deal of profit. On the flip side, here are the five worst teams against left-handed pitching:

San Diego Padres .207

Toronto Blue Jays .226

Florida Marlins .228

Chicago White Sox .231

Cleveland Indians .239

Those are some pretty ugly averages and pertaining to records against lefty starters, they are as follows:

San Diego Padres 2-11

Toronto Blue Jays 5-8

Florida Marlins 6-6

Chicago White Sox 10-5

Cleveland Indians 6-7

Overall, it’s not good even though the White Sox are winning against lefties despite putting up a lousy .231 average. The same holds true for teams facing right-handed pitching although the records are not as extreme either way. The reason for that is there are more right-handed starters and the law of averages tends to even those out. There are exceptions however. The best team in baseball against right-handed starters is the Tampa Bay Rays at 24-14 followed closely by the Florida Marlins with a 24-13 mark as the second best team.

Against righties, the Royals and Mets are at the bottom of the pack with just 12 wins each followed closely by the Nationals with only 13 victories. Teams fall into these grooves, whether good or bad, and tend to stay in that pattern throughout the year. Trades, injuries, call-ups and demotions can affect the success or failure but for the most part, the streakiness of baseball falls in line here also. Make sure you keep an eye on this the remainder of the season.

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