While we’re on the topic of being dealt an unfavorable hand, how about the difference between pitching in the AL East versus the AL Central? After all, teams play within their division for 64 games out of the total 162, so this is a sizable portion of the total competition.
In fact, 18 of Sale’s 32 starts came against AL East opponents and 13 of Kluber’s 29 came against the AL Central.
Outside of the first-place Red Sox, the AL East posted a winning percentage of .496. Meanwhile, take away the first-place Indians and the AL Central won at a .457 rate.
Ranked by OPS, the Red Sox had the Yankees (3rd), Orioles (19th), Rays (20th) and Blue Jays (25th). Meanwhile, the Indians got the Twins (9th), Tigers (18th), Royals (23th) and White Sox (24th).
It should also be noted that Sale had to face the hard-hitting Yankees five times throughout the season, while Kluber matched up with the Twins just once. 10 of Kluber’s 29 starts, over a third, were against the Tigers and the White Sox. The two worst teams in the American League.