Have you noticed something strange lately? Seems like every time a starting pitcher does something fantastic, he just happens to be pitching for an American League team against a National League team.
Just my imagination? To check, I scanned ESPN.com’s scoreboard pages, from last Friday through last night’s games, looking for headlines in which the winning starting pitcher was mentioned. I found 15. See if you notice any sort of pattern ...
No, it’s not scientific. No, the list doesn’t include fine games pitched by the likes of National Leaguers Matt Cain and Brad Thompson (or for that matter, American Leaguers Kevin Millwood, A.J. Burnett, Brad Bergesen, and Brian Bannister). But among the 15 starting pitchers who made headlines for winning, 12 made headlines for pitching brilliantly (or near-brilliantly) against National League teams. Jered Weaver threw his first shutout, Luke Hochevar needed only 80 pitches to dispatch Cincinnati, and Gil Meche threw his third shutout in 225 career starts. CLiff Lee took a no-hitter into the eighth, and Felix Rodriguez took a one-hitter into the ninth.
Sure, it’s only 15 games, and 15 games that were subject to the whims of ESPN.com’s headline writers. But I mean, c’mon. It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the American Leaguers are playing a different game? A better game?