MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks

Paul Goldschmidt owns Tim Lincecum. Paul Goldschmidt hits Tim Lincecum hard every time they face off. Every. Time. This is not a new phenomenon, as last season in this space we examined the impact of Goldschmidt’s Timmy tuning on his career line.

The beat went on yesterday afternoon, as Goldschimdt homered in his first plate appearance of the year against Lincecum. He later singled but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. It was the sixth career home run for Goldschimidt off the two-time Cy Young winner in just 21 career plate appearances to that point. Goldy can claim 12 hits and two walks in his 26 career PAs versus Timmy. That’s a lot.

It is unusual for one hitter to dominate a pitcher as great* as Tim Lincecum, one would think. In fact someone asked me just that on Twitter: do other great pitchers have hitters who own them as Goldschimdt owns the Giants former ace?

* – Before we get much further, a word on Lincecum’s transitive greatness. He sure was great, as his two Cy Young awards and two World Series rings and playoff MVPs and all the rest of his accolades attest. But he isn’t what he once was, and Goldschmidt’s rise as one of the premier sluggers in baseball coincides with Lincecum’s recent mortality in a way that does Lincecum no favors.

That out of the way, I looked for hitters with great numbers against recent pitchers with multiple Cy Youngs to their name. Can any other hitter claim the same sort of “five home run in 30 plate appearance” dominance that America’s First Baseman holds over The Mustachioed Freak?

In a word? Yes. Of course!

Clayton Kershaw

PA H 2B 3B HR BB SO
Adam Dunn 14 8 2 0 4 1 3
Chris Denorfia 34 9 2 0 3 5 8
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/3/2014.

No hitter can claim five homers against the best pitcher in the game right now, but Adam Dunn strangely owns the Dodgers’ ace. These four home runs represent 20% of the total hit by left-handers off Clayton Kershaw in his career. 20 total, four from Dunn. Wow.

Chris Denorfria is a professional pain in the ass, forever tormenting more talented players with his endless competence. Annoying.

Johan Santana

PA H 2B 3B HR BB SO
Frank Thomas 26 10 1 0 5 5 3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/3/2014.

Only one hitter qualifies as smacking Johan Santana around in a tiny exposure and its a Hall of Famer. With the platoon advantage. I think we can let Johan escape a lot of fault here.

Roy Halladay

PA H 2B 3B HR BB SO
Chipper Jones 23 11 3 0 3 2 3
Freddie Freeman 20 8 0 0 3 3 2
Justin Morneau 20 6 0 0 3 0 5
Luke Scott 16 7 0 0 3 0 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/3/2014.

The sliding scale really slid down to find hitters that hit Halladay well for their career. David Ortiz claims the most career bombs off the former Blue Jays and Phillies ace, but these hitters did damage in much more limited exposures.

Roy Halladay was really good at pitching, you guys.

Tom Glavine

PA H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Aramis Ramirez 35 13 2 0 4 10 8 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/3/2014.

Man, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think the pitchers featured here were regarded as the best in the game during their time! Glavine pitched forever so just finding hitters with limited plate appearances is difficult, just as guys who hit the lefty hard remain elusive.

Another power hitter with a platoon advantage. Aramais Ramirez is probably better than you realize.

Pedro Martinez

PA H 2B 3B HR BB SO
Mike Piazza 27 10 1 0 6 0 4
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Generated 4/3/2014.

This is just perfect. This is as similar a situation to Lincecum/Goldschmidt as we could hope for. Right on right, great hitter smacking a great pitcher around in limited looks. Six home run for Piazza in just 27 career plate appearances. Awesome.

Greg Maddux

PA H 2B 3B HR BB SO
Javier Valentin 29 11 2 0 5 1 3
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Generated 4/3/2014.

The good old sunshine v. dog’s behind case that no court of law holds as precedent. Javier Valentin! He hit 45 home runs in his entire career, five coming against Peak Greg Maddux! Baseball, man. I dunno.

Randy Johnson

PA H 2B 3B HR BB SO
Albert Pujols 33 14 3 1 6 2 5
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Generated 4/3/2014.

Albert Pujols? Never heard of him.

Roger Clemens

PA H 2B 3B HR BB SO
Trot Nixon 48 16 5 1 5 8 9
Mike Piazza 25 8 1 0 4 2 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/3/2014.

Trot Nixon is only player with five home runs in fewer than 50 plate appearances, though Jim Thome took the Rocket deep eight times in his career. And there’s that Piazza guy again. I wonder if these two have much of a history?

So just about every great pitcher has a guy who just seems to barrel him up over and over. Perhaps some of these shots came at the end of players careers or they’re just random variation. Either way, Tim Lincecum shouldn’t be ashamed of getting hit around by a good hitter like Goldschmidt. Of course, given the way his results have gone over the last few years, the past is the least of Timmmy’s worries. Who knows how hard he’ll get hit around Chase Field in the future?