There are many words people use to describe left handed pitchers: “crafty”, “cagey”, “soft tossing”. No matter what word is used to describe them, hitters usually do not like to face them. I believe that I would be in the major league’s had my dad let me throw the ball left handed like I was apt to do, despite having a right handed’s glove. Because of this, I have a fondness for lefty pitchers. No matter what word is used to describe them or what “southpaw” is on the mound, lefties have owned the Orioles this season.
Many athletes who play sports are superstitious and one superstition that is commonly used with lefthanders is the “southpaw jinx”. Despite being a term often used in boxing, it can also be used to describe a team with a good lineup, like the Orioles, who gets shut down by an average left handed pitcher.
I have never been one to believe in superstitions but after Jarrod Washburn’s near perfect game last night, I am starting to believe in the dreaded “southpaw jinx”.
While they are hitting a very respectable .267 as a team against left handed pitching, the Orioles have been shit down by the likes of Scott Richmond, John Lannan, Jason Vargas, Dallas Braden, Sean West, Garrett Olson and more pitchers that can barely be considered average major leaguers. It is almost at the point now where I do not even watch the game if I know a left handed is pitching because the Orioles are likely to muster no more then a few hits and a run or two.
The old adage in sports is that to be a contender you must beat the team’s that your “supposed” to beat, but in baseball, you need to beat the “pitchers” your supposed to beat. The Orioles have faced some good lefties like CC Sabathia and Cole Hamels(who they both beat) but have lost to many lefties with inflated ERA’s and bad win/loss records that they were “supposed” to beat.
I know occasionally a pitcher has a great outing but the Orioles have made more pitchers look like Cy Young then I can count off the top of my head. Anyone who watched that Florida series could have sworn that Sean West and Andrew Miller were perennial 20 games winners and regular candidates to win the Cy Young instead of just being the decent(not great) pitchers that they are.
The Orioles have a chance to reverse the curse of the southpaw tonight when they face their old fried Eric Bedard in Seattle tonight. Bedard stymied Orioles bats earlier this season to the tune of one earned run, four hits and seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
While the Orioles have a golden opportunity to get back on the winning track, I believe that once again they will succumb to yet another left handed starter.
Maybe there is something to this “southpaw jinx” after all.