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Friday, July 23, 2010
Kuo is the ulti'Met' nemesis

By Mark Simon

A happy birthday (or if you're a Mets fan, a wish for an unhappy one) is in order to the greatest Mets-killer known to mankind, Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, who turns 29 on Friday.

Hong-Chih Kuo


Relief Pitcher
Los Angeles Dodgers

Profile


2010 Season Stats
GM W L BB K ERA
29 3 1 11 39 0.86



Kuo, who wrapped up the latest Mets loss to the Dodgers with a scoreless ninth, now has an 0.33 ERA regular season ERA in 27 innings against the Mets, the best among those with at least 25 innings pitched against them.

This isn't an ERA padded by allowing the runs of others, either. Kuo has inherited six baserunners when facing the Mets. None have scored.

David Wright has had success against Kuo, with four hits in nine at-bats against him. The rest of the current roster is a meager 7-for-39. In all, Kuo has faced 98 Mets batters in regular season play and allowed a total of one extra-base hit. Kuo has as many extra-base hits against the Mets (remember his home run/bat flip, part of three Dodgers homers in a row a couple years ago?) as they have against him.


Ike Davis got his introduction to Kuo Wednesday and could do nothing, which is nothing new. Lefties are 0-for-33 against him with 17 strikeouts, and the last 14 Kuo has gotten out haven't even hit the ball out of the infield (an asterisk here -- Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano touched him for a sacrifice fly in the All-Star Game).

Amazingly, the Mets have beaten Kuo -- in the postseason (Game 2 of the NLDS) -- but a closer look shows they were lucky to plate two runs against him. They scored the first on a single, wild pitch, and two groundouts, and plated the other against reliever Brett Tomko after he inherited a Kuo jam brought about by a single, a sacrifice and two walks.

But even more amazing, how about this stat, courtesy of Kuo's splits page on Baseball-Reference.com. Cleanup hitters are 0-for-16 against Kuo this season.

The next target for Kuo, Mets-wise, might be to have the best opponents batting average against them. The current target: former reliever Odell Jones, who held the Mets to a .119 mark from 1975 to 1981.

The Mets are currently 13-for-90 against Kuo. To surpass Jones, Kuo would have to hold them hitless in their next 20 turns against him. The way things are going now, don't rule it out.

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If Kuo shutting down the Mets was Thursday's lock, Friday's might be that an ex-Met enters the history books. Royals starter Brian Bannister faces Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez tonight. Rodriguez, sitting on 599 home runs, has three in seven at-bats against Bannister.

Rodriguez's OPS against Bannister -- 2.557 -- the best against any pitcher he's faced.