The lefty is a paradox, from being spoken of negatively in the Bible to dealing with a world built for the right-handed. They even cause problems to MLB baseball handicappers and sportsbooks.
Many baseball teams only have a left-handed pitcher to balance their pitching staff, not because he’s always the best pitcher. If managers have two lefty starters, rarely do they ever pitch back-to-back games because hitters become “familiar” with how they throw, yet any skipper has no problem utilizing three RH starters in any given series.
In baseball terms, through the years southpaws have been known as ‘Late bloomers,’ oddballs, quirky, crafty (another word for tricky) and just plain weird.
Nonetheless, every team in the big leagues has to face them and some are better than others. For our purposes of making MLB picks, it is helpful to know which squads are beating the MLB odds against those who only make up 10 percent of the general population.
Minnesota Mauling Left-Handers
The Houston Astros are getting all the pub for having the best record in the American League, but in truth the Minnesota Twins have the same number of losses as Houston and as of this writing are more adept at beating the MLB odds. Even coming into the season, the Astros were thought to be building and on the upswing while Minnesota was not in the discussion of what was supposed to a four-team race in the AL Central.
Part of the measure of the Twins success is how they have handled southpaws, averaging 6.2 runs per game in their starts. This does not mean they are scoring that many runs versus all left-handed hurlers, it's just in those games they start. Minny is 15-5, +13.7 units in those confrontations. Minnesota is tied for third in the majors with a .282 batting average against all southpaws, yet oddly enough they are second in strikeouts versus the port-siders. If you are making sports picks and the Twins face a left-handed pitcher, you have to circle that contest as a potential play.
Giants and Tigers Winning vs. Lefties
The second and third most–profitable clubs against lefties are San Francisco at 8-3 (+6.9 units) and Detroit at 9-3 (+6.7 units). First off, both have not seen left-handers nearly as often as Minnesota, being a function of how the rotation works and having more right-handed hitters for average and power. The Giants' record is more of an anomaly since they are only scoring 3.6 RPG and have gotten terrific pitching more than hitting.
The Detroit Tigers exemplify this better in spite of averaging 4.2 RPG in those starts. Detroit is third in OBP and second in OPS and they rank eighth in home runs per at bat against those screwy lefties, which at least is an explanation for their success.
Oakland and Colorado Baffled by those wearing Right-Handed Gloves
To a certain degree this is not an indictment by the lack of success the A’s and Rockies have shown against left-handed starters, because it has not mattered what hand any pitcher has used, they have lost against nearly all of them.
Oakland is 2-10 (-10. 1) in these matchups and why is stands out more is they are scoring 3.3 RPG versus 4.5 RPG against those using the opposite hand to throw with. The Athletics are listed 28th with a team batting average of .217 against these oddball pitchers.
Colorado has only faced left-handed starting pitching 10 times and won twice, leaving them at -5.3 units. There batting average is superior to Oakland’s at .262, but they touch the plate a paltry three times a contests in this confrontations.
Both teams do so little damage against LH pitches they are the worst two teams in baseball in home runs per at bats versus lefties averaging less than one per 100 plate appearances.
For those of you who have been reading these articles of Doug Upstone regularly it should come as no surprise he is left-handed.