This probably isn’t a surprise, but Prince Fielder loves hitting Pirates pitching. I say it’s not a surprise because Pittsburgh’s pitching staff is one of the worst in the majors, ranking 29th in team ERA and dead last in WHIP. Paul Maholm is the team’s ERA leader with a sparkling mark of 4.82. Maholm and Joel Hanrahan are the only Pittsburgh pitchers worth a full win above replacement level according to FanGraphs.
You get the picture — Pittsburgh is bad. But just how much has Prince been beating up on the Pirates compared to other teams this season? You might be surprised.
Following Fielder’s two-homer game on Saturday night, he now has 28 home runs on the year. Of those, 8 have come against the Pirates — by far the most he has against a single team this year. The second highest total he has against one team this year is three, against the Texas Rangers. He’s hit two against just about everyone else.
Heading into Saturday night, Fielder was hitting a Branyan-esque .250/.432/.571 against the Bucs, good for an OPS+ of 148. He’s put up these numbers despite Pittsburgh seemingly pitching around him whenever possible — the 15 walks he drew before Saturday were also the most he’s drawn against a single team this year.
Of course, part of the reason why Prince’s numbers against the Pirates this year are so far ahead of his numbers against anyone else is because the Brewers have played the Pirates more than any other team this year. His career numbers against them are also spectacular, though — after Saturday night, he’s hit more home runs against the Pirates (21) than he has against any other team in his career, just ahead of the Cincinnati Reds (19).
Sunday will be the last time the Brewers get to face the Pirates this year, so hopefully they can get over their day game hitting woes and finish the sweep.