15 Best pitching performances of the season

Baseball is upon us! I have watched over 50 games so far this season and I would like to note the amount of incredible pitching performances.

Friday (May 10) had two one-hitters so in honor of that I will try to rank the 15 best pitching performances of the season.

To limit the amount of pitchers I have to compare I will only look at pitchers with a Bill James Game Score of above 85 (since there are now 15 it worked out).

What’s a Bill James Game Score? I’ll quote ESPN Stats & Info:

“A pitcher starts with 50 points, gets a point for each out, two points for each innings completed after the fourth inning, and one point for a strikeout.

He is docked two points for each hit, four points for each earned run allowed, two points for each unearned run allowed and one point for each walk.”

According to ESPN Stats & Info the average is between 49 and 50 — so 85 and up is REAL good.

Note: I will be nitpicking each start… honestly, all these starts are awesome

Honorable mentions:

15. Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox 4/14 vs Tampa Bay Rays, 8 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 11 Ks, W, Game Score 85

It’s the walks that killed him, he had a no-hitter through eight. Walks are something that pitchers should be able to control so he doesn’t get a top 10 spot. He also only (lol, only) eight.

14. James Shields, Kansas City Royals 5/6 vs Chicago White Sox, 8 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 9 Ks, ND (Kansas City lost the game in extras), Game Score 85

It’s incredible that the Royals didn’t win this game… when a guy throws 8 shutout innings you have to win that game… especially when the other pitcher (Chris Sale) isn’t that good and wasn’t having an incredible night.

13. Jeff Samardzija, Chicago Cubs, 4/1, at Pittsburgh Pirates, 8 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 9 Ks, W, Game Score 86

A great opening day performance, but the 8 IP and the walk counted against him. He got into a jam in the first where he walked a batter had an error and looked in danger of imploded. He came back with an awesome seven innings, but had no perfect game pressure and the no-hitter ended in the second.

12. Kyle Kendrick, Philadelphia Phillies, 4/26, at New York Mets, 9 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 Ks, W, Game Score 85

He didn’t have much pressure because his no-hitter and perfect game ended in the first, the three hits and walk also don’t look great next to these other gems — and it was against the Mets.

11. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers, 4/28, vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 8 IP, 4 H, 12 Ks, W, Game Score 86

The four hits didn’t help. He gave up two in the first so didn’t have the no-hit/perfect game pressure and this isn’t even his best start of the season!

10. Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers, 4/26, vs. Atlanta Braves, 8 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 17 Ks (Yes, 17), W Game Score: 88

I think this game score is a little high (this is mostly do the the crazy number of 17 Ks), the 5 Hs and walk just don’t do it for me.

9. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies, 4/4, at Atlanta Braves, 8 IP, 2 H, 8 Ks, W, Game Score 86
8. Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals, 5/1, at Atlanta Braves, 8 IP, 2 H, 8 Ks, W, Game Score 86

These starts are SO similar it was hard to rank one over another. Justin Upton had a hit against both. I gave Zimmermann the nod for a hit (where Lee had a walk, see how similar these starts were!) and because the non-Upton hit off Zim was from Paul Maholm and given his career .109 batting average (.150 OBP and .129 SLG) I’m going to regard it as a fluke.

7. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers, 4/1, San Francisco Giants, 9 IP, 4 H, 7 Ks, W, Game Score 86

The full nine innings! What an opening day, he had the pressure of a scoreless tie AND he brooke that tie with his first career homer, the first inning hit hurts his case.

6. Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds, 4/16, Philadelphia Phillies, 8 IP, 2 H, 10 Ks, ND, Game Score 88

He didn’t even get the win… ugh another reason to hate the win-loss records. He did this on 89 pitches… that’s really nuts and efficient. The Phillies only managed two singles (no extra-base hits).

5. Adam Wainwright, St. Lois Cardinals, 4/13, vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 9 IP, 4 H, 12 Ks, W, Game Score 91

Those four hits are not great, the Game Score of 91 is a little bit high for me, those 12 Ks and no walks are great but we are talking the best of the best

4. Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals, 4/26, vs. Cincinnati Reds, 9 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 Ks, W, Game Score 88

I think this game is underrated by game score, one hit and one walk? 91 pitches! Against Homer Bailey (who we just covered is a more than capable pitcher)… the no-no ended in the third.

3. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers, 4/2, at Houston Astros, 8.2 IP, 1 H, 14 Ks, W, Game Score 96

Yu had 8 2/3 of perfect baseball! He was incredible but he didn’t finish the game… if he had finished the game he would be higher. I blame Ron Washington.

2. Shelby Miller, St. Lois Cardinals, 5/10, Colorado Rockies, 9 IP, 1 H, 13 Ks, W, Game Score 98

INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE! The fact that the only hit was from the first batter detracts from it slightly (nit-picking… I know), the single was also a clean hit (shallow right but I think almost no right fielder makes that play)

1. Matt Harvey, New York Mets, 5/7, Chicago White Sox, 9 IP, 1 H, 12 Ks, ND, Game Score 97

AMAZIN’ — it would have been a perfect game if not for an infield season (that I think about half of MLB shortstops make). He has perfect into the seventh and I think he could have thrown a perfect tenth if Terry Collins left him.

Now I came up with this and wrote this between 3 and 4 AM so I might change my mind after I sleep but I just wanted to put this into the Internet.

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~ by realfactsandbeer on May 11, 2013.

One Response to “15 Best pitching performances of the season”

  1. Just going to say Darvish was pulled because of an incredibly high pitch count on his first start of the season and the possibility of a blister forming. I feel like valid reasons. Don’t want to injure your ace against the Astros….at the start of the season. Also remember coming from Japan there are still concerns about his stamina even though he got through last year ok

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