Why players own one-on-one matchups
Style, environment, past experience can help dictate success in game's individual duels
Baseball loves the story of the matchup. The day in, day out, one-on-one battles give a different twist to what we think of as a team sport. It is pitcher CC Sabathia versus hitter Evan Longoria, or catcher Ivan Rodriguez versus speed demon Michael Bourn, or manager Tony La Russa versus manager Dusty Baker. With all of these events, it makes sense that along the way, someone is prevailing at a much higher rate than what a coin toss would dictate. This makes us feel there are other powers at work -- it could be the lucky socks, it could be the lighting, it could be that Sabathia likes Tampa's fishing spots.Some matchups are more like full smackdown. Joe Mauer dominates Joel Pineiro. Ichiro wears out Vicente Padilla. Alex Rodriguez apparently can't hit John Lackey with a tennis racket. Why?