Justin Verlander Wins by MLB Opponent Now That the Star Pitcher Has Beaten Every Team
Breaking news: New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander wins MLB games pretty often when he takes the mound, and he made history on May 10, 2023, by defeating the Cincinnati Reds.
The start was ostensibly an innocuous one as the flamethrowing right-hander made just his second appearance for the Mets and earned the victory in a 2-1 affair, throwing seven innings of one-run ball to lower his season ERA to 2.25 and bring the disappointing Mets within a game of .500. But in doing so, he became just the 21st pitcher in MLB history to record a W against each and every one of the 30 franchises currently competing at baseball’s highest level.
Verlander had operated only as an American League pitcher before joining New York in the 2023 offseason, so he’d faced the National League Central squad in just two prior outings — only one of which, a 4-3 loss on June 18, 2019, saw him emerge as the pitcher of record. Now, he’s checked every box on the list and pushed the exclusive group from 20 to 21 names.
Justin Verlander wins and career record against every MLB team
Barring any unforeseen off-field developments, Justin Verlander is a veritable lock to make the Hall of Fame whenever he’s first eligible.
He’s a Triple Crown winner and earned both Cy Young and MVP honors during his 2011 campaign with the Detroit Tigers. That was just one of his three Cy Youngs, and the other two came eight and 11 years later with the Houston Astros. He’s earned two World Series titles, led MLB in ERA on two separate occasions, made nine All-Star squads, and posted sterling stats throughout his impressive and lengthy career.
It stands to reason that he’s thrived against most opponents he’s faced, and that’s reflected in his lifetime numbers against each of MLB’s 30 present-day organizations:
|Opponent||Career Record||Career ERA||First Win||Most Recent Win|
|Kansas City Royals||24-10 (.706)||3.16||5/22/2006||7/7/2022|
|Minnesota Twins||22-10 (.688)||2.76||4/29/2006||8/23/2022|
|Chicago White Sox||22-14 (.611)||3.72||8/21/2006||5/21/2019|
|Cleveland Guardians||23-24 (.489)||4.45||5/27/2006||5/21/2023|
|Seattle Mariners||21-10 (.677)||3.09||4/23/2006||7/29/2022|
|Texas Rangers||20-8 (.714)||2.64||4/8/2006||5/21/2022|
|Oakland Athletics||16-7 (.696)||2.49||7/21/2006||9/16/2022|
|Los Angeles Angels||15-11 (.577)||3.20||8/24/2009||9/28/2019|
|Tampa Bay Rays||10-5 (.714)||3.45||8/1/2006||8/27/2019|
|Baltimore Orioles||10-6 (.625)||3.62||5/10/2006||8/4/2017|
|New York Yankees||9-7 (.563)||3.44||8/16/2007||6/24/2022|
|Houston Astros||5-0 (1.000)||2.55||6/28/2006||7/30/2017|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||5-2 (.714)||3.51||6/11/2010||8/9/2017|
|Boston Red Sox||5-6 (.455)||2.87||5/15/2007||8/21/2016|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||4-1 (.800)||1.99||6/25/2011||9/16/2018|
|Toronto Blue Jays||4-6 (.400)||4.29||7/22/2010||9/1/2019|
|Philadelphia Phillies||3-0 (1.000)||1.42||6/17/2007||10/4/2022|
|Washington Nationals||3-0 (1.000)||1.89||6/16/2010||5/15/2022|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||3-0 (1.000)||2.91||7/8/2014||8/3/2018|
|New York Mets||3-1 (.750)||3.13||6/30/2011||6/29/2022|
|Colorado Rockies||3-1 (.750)||3.18||6/19/2011||8/30/2017|
|St. Louis Cardinals||3-1 (.750)||4.32||6/23/2006||6/19/2012|
|Milwaukee Brewers||2-0 (1.000)||1.90||6/12/2007||6/21/2009|
|Chicago Cubs||2-0 (1.000)||1.98||6/17/2006||6/14/2012|
|San Diego Padres||2-0 (1.000)||2.92||6/22/2008||4/12/2014|
|Atlanta Braves||2-1 (.667)||2.57||6/23/2007||6/27/2010|
|Detroit Tigers||2-3 (.400)||3.18||9/10/2018||5/15/2019|
|Miami Marlins||1-0 (1.000)||1.42||6/12/2022||6/12/2022|
|San Francisco Giants||1-0 (1.000)||2.25||5/23/2018||5/23/2018|
|Cincinnati Reds||1-1 (.500)||3.15||5/10/2023||5/10/2023|
Perhaps the most impressive distillation of the numbers seen above?
Verlander has a losing record against only four different teams: the Cleveland Guardians, Boston Red Sox (against whom he still has a 2.87 career ERA), Toronto Blue Jays, and Detroit Tigers (a limited sample due to his 13 Motown seasons). He has a sub-4.00 ERA against 27 of the 30 opponents.
In many ways, he’s the exception rather than the rule within the 21-man club because most members haven’t been pitchers quite of his caliber.
21 pitchers have wins against every MLB team
Al Leiter, with an April 30, 2002, defeat of the Arizona Diamondbacks, became the founding member of the beat-every-team fraternity, capitalizing on both the expansion clubs that brought MLB to its current 30-squad construction and the advent of more frequent interleague affairs.
Membership has swelled incrementally over the years, and the pace of entry has only slowed as we draw closer to the present day. Why? That’s a complicated topic, but the simple summary is as follows: Bullpens are used more frequently in today’s game, and the necessity of throwing triple-digit gas or upper-90s heaters has made multidecade careers aberrations rather than the norm.
In the four years after Leiter proved this feat was feasible (2002-06), the club grew to five. Five more mound-dwellers punched their tickets from 2007-10, and another three from 2011-15. Four pitchers followed suit from 2016-20, but only Verlander and Gerrit Cole have gained admission since.
|Pitcher||Date Joining 30-Team Club||Final Team Defeated|
|Al Leiter||4/30/2002||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|Kevin Brown||3/31/2004||Tampa Bay Rays|
|Terry Mulholland||7/19/2004||Detroit Tigers|
|Curt Schilling||9/10/2004||Seattle Mariners|
|Woody Williams||9/26/2006||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Jamie Moyer||5/26/2008||Colorado Rockies|
|Randy Johnson||4/19/2009||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|Barry Zito||6/12/2010||Oakland Athletics|
|Javier Vazquez||7/21/2010||Los Angeles Angels|
|Vicente Padilla||8/10/2010||Philadelphia Phillies|
|Derek Lowe||5/10/2012||Boston Red Sox|
|A.J. Burnett||7/21/2012||Miami Marlins|
|Dan Haren||8/9/2013||Philadelphia Phillies|
|Kyle Lohse||6/26/2015||Minnesota Twins|
|Tim Hudson||7/26/2015||Oakland Athletics|
|John Lackey||4/18/2016||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Max Scherzer||5/11/2016||Detroit Tigers|
|Bartolo Colon||8/20/2017||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|Zack Greinke||9/14/2019||Kansas City Royals|
|Gerrit Cole||7/10/2021||Houston Astros|
|Justin Verlander||5/10/2023||Cincinnati Reds|
Plenty of memorable names populate the above table, but it remains notable that only one has a bust in Cooperstown: the inimitable Randy Johnson.
Curt Schilling was quite obviously a Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher who has been denied a spot in the Hall of Fame for an assortment of non-pitching reasons, and Max Scherzer, Cole, and Verlander will surely join Johnson one day.
But for now, the 21-man club has more good-not-great occupants than historic standouts.
Active threats closest to joining the club
Justin Verlander may be the latest headlining member of the exclusive fraternity of MLB pitchers to defeat each and every team, and he’ll likely join Randy Johnson in the Hall of Fame whenever he’s eligible. But he won’t be the last hurler to reach the milestone.
Currently, three active pitchers are on an MLB roster and one team shy (Ervin Santana, Scott Kazmir, and Anibal Sanchez, all not technically retired but available as free agents, are also at 29):
- Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox: The right-hander is 0-1 with a 1.74 ERA in two starts against the Texas Rangers.
- Wade Miley, Milwaukee Brewers: The left-hander is 0-4 with a 5.68 ERA in 12 starts against the New York Yankees.
- Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves: The right-hander is 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA in one start against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 28-team club is similarly populated:
- Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres: The right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA in his one start against the Baltimore Orioles and 0-0 with a 10.13 ERA in his lone outing against the Texas Rangers.
- Cole Hamels, San Diego Padres: Currently on a minor league deal, he has not defeated the Philadelphia Phillies or Toronto Blue Jays.
- Ian Kennedy, Texas Rangers: The right-hander would need to join a new squad to add the Rangers to his list, and he’s 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA in eight appearances (four starts) against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Trevor Bauer (pitching in Japan), Mike Minor (free agent), and Ivan Nova (free agent) also sit at 28, but none are currently part of an MLB organization. No active pitchers have reached 27 defeated teams, though plenty sit just shy of that impressive threshold.