Justin Verlander Wins by MLB Opponent Now That the Star Pitcher Has Beaten Every Team

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Justin Verlander throws a pitch for the Houston Astros

Breaking news: Justin Verlander wins MLB games pretty often when he takes the mound, and he made history for the New York Mets on May 10, 2023, by defeating the Cincinnati Reds.

The start, which came just over two months before he was shipped back to the Houston Astros, was ostensibly an innocuous one as the flamethrowing right-hander made just his second of 16 appearances 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 a disappointing club 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 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:

OpponentCareer RecordCareer ERAFirst WinMost Recent Win
Kansas City Royals24-10 (.706)3.165/22/20067/7/2022
Chicago White Sox23-14 (.622)3.668/21/20067/19/2023
Minnesota Twins22-10 (.688)2.764/29/20068/23/2022
Cleveland Guardians23-24 (.489)4.455/27/20065/21/2023
Seattle Mariners22-10 (.688)3.024/23/20069/25/2023
Texas Rangers21-8 (.724)2.604/8/20069/6/2023
Oakland Athletics16-8 (.667)2.647/21/20069/16/2022
Los Angeles Angels16-11 (.593)3.238/24/20098/11/2023
Tampa Bay Rays10-5 (.714)3.458/1/20068/27/2019
Baltimore Orioles10-6 (.625)3.655/10/20068/4/2017
New York Yankees10-9 (.526)3.418/16/20077/25/2023
Boston Red Sox6-6 (.500)2.745/15/20078/22/2023
Arizona Diamondbacks5-1 (.833)1.776/25/20119/30/2023
Houston Astros5-1 (.833)2.826/28/20067/30/2017
Pittsburgh Pirates5-2 (.714)3.516/11/20108/9/2017
Washington Nationals4-0 (1.000)1.856/16/20107/30/2023
Toronto Blue Jays4-7 (.364)4.137/22/20109/1/2019
Philadelphia Phillies3-0 (1.000)1.426/17/200710/4/2022
New York Mets3-1 (.750)3.136/30/20116/29/2022
Colorado Rockies3-1 (.750)3.186/19/20118/30/2017
Los Angeles Dodgers3-1 (.750)3.387/8/20148/3/2018
St. Louis Cardinals3-1 (.750)4.326/23/20066/19/2012
Detroit Tigers3-3 (.500)2.779/10/20188/27/2023
Miami Marlins2-0 (1.000)2.636/12/20228/16/2023
San Francisco Giants2-0 (1.000)1.425/23/20187/1/2023
Milwaukee Brewers2-0 (1.000)1.576/12/20076/21/2009
Chicago Cubs2-0 (1.000)1.986/17/20066/14/2012
San Diego Padres2-0 (1.000)2.956/22/20084/12/2014
Atlanta Braves2-2 (.500)3.756/23/20076/27/2010
Cincinnati Reds1-1 (.500)3.155/10/20235/10/2023

Perhaps the most impressive distillation of the numbers seen above?

Verlander has a losing record against only two different teams: the Cleveland Guardians and Toronto Blue Jays. 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.

PitcherDate Joining 30-Team ClubFinal Team Defeated
Al Leiter4/30/2002Arizona Diamondbacks
Kevin Brown3/31/2004Tampa Bay Rays
Terry Mulholland7/19/2004Detroit Tigers
Curt Schilling9/10/2004Seattle Mariners
Woody Williams9/26/2006St. Louis Cardinals
Jamie Moyer5/26/2008Colorado Rockies
Randy Johnson4/19/2009Arizona Diamondbacks
Barry Zito6/12/2010Oakland Athletics
Javier Vazquez7/21/2010Los Angeles Angels
Vicente Padilla8/10/2010Philadelphia Phillies
Derek Lowe5/10/2012Boston Red Sox
A.J. Burnett7/21/2012Miami Marlins
Dan Haren8/9/2013Philadelphia Phillies
Kyle Lohse6/26/2015Minnesota Twins
Tim Hudson7/26/2015Oakland Athletics
John Lackey4/18/2016St. Louis Cardinals
Max Scherzer5/11/2016Detroit Tigers
Bartolo Colon8/20/2017Arizona Diamondbacks
Zack Greinke9/14/2019Kansas City Royals
Gerrit Cole7/10/2021Houston Astros
Justin Verlander5/10/2023Cincinnati 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 Wins by MLB Opponent Now That the Star Pitcher Has Beaten Every Team
Charlie Morton of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Boston Red Sox at Truist Park on May 7, 2023 | Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/Getty Images

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, five 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):

  • Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres: The right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.73 ERA in his two starts against the Baltimore Orioles
  • Lance Lynn, Los Angeles Dodgers: 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 5.49 ERA in 13 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.
  • Marcus Stroman, Chicago Cubs: The right-hander is 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in one start against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 28-team club is even less populated:

  • Patrick Corbin, Washington Nationals: The southpaw is 0-3 with a 10.80 ERA in four starts against the Arizona Diamondbacks and 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in two starts against the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays: The right-hander is 0-0 with a 1.32 ERA in two starts against the Atlanta Braves and 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts against the San Francisco Giants.
  • 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. Clayton Kershaw, Michael Wacha, and Adam Wainwright are the lone active pitchers at 27 defeated teams, and a dozen active hurlers sit one shy of that mark.