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Smoltz's Wright Hand Man

I'm glad that David Wright broke his career worst 0-for string on Saturday, because the matchup on Sunday, while fascinating, is a bit troubling.

John Smoltz pitches for the Braves on Sunday and he's essentially the kryptonite to David Wright's Superman status.

Smoltz has struck Wright out 19 times in 52 meetings (plate appearances) in holding him to a .233 batting average.

Why is that significant? Take a look at this list.

Most K By David Wright
vs Pitchers

John Smoltz 19
Brett Myers 7
Dontrelle Willis 7
Jason Bergmann 6
Randy Johnson 6
Mike Mussina 6 (in 8 plate appearances, 7 AB!)

Among active players, there's no one who Smoltz, who just passed 3,000 career strikeouts, has whiffed more than David Wright. That's particularly amazin' considering that Wright has only played the equivalent of 3.5 major league seasons.

Not only has Wright struck out 19 times. He's gone to a 2-strike count against Smoltz 34 times (well more than half their meetings), going 4-for-30 with 4 walks in those instances. In one span of 14 plate appearances last season, Smoltz got to 2 strikes on Wright 13 times! That's insane.

David Wright is a good 2-strike hitter, dare we say among the best 2-strike hitters in baseball, but not against Smoltz.

I remember watching the first Smoltz strikeout of Wright. It was a walk-off, a series-sweep-ender that basically ended the Mets season on August 1, 2004 (they fell 9 games back of the Braves). Wright, than a young pup, batting in the eighth hole, in his 11th major-league game, took to a 2-0 count, watched two called strikes, than battled through three foul balls. On the eighth pitch, Smoltz froze Wright (believe it was fastball, outside corner) to close things out.

That at-bat seemed to fuel Wright in their next few meetings, as he went 5 for his next 11 against Smoltz, but after that, Smoltz figured things out. He's held Wright to 4-for-29, with 15 strikeouts, starting with a pair of whiffs in late 2005.

I don't pretend to know what approach Wright takes against Smoltz, but whatever it is, he might want to adjust it slightly, because right now it's Smoltz who is walking off the mound from those confrontations as a major winner.

Those Mets fans in the Wright know...The pitcher whom David Wright has faced the most WITHOUT striking out is Brandon Webb. Wright is hitting .455 with no strikeouts and one walk in 16 career plate appearances (15 AB) against Webb.


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