Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Halladay in the History Books

Quick, think of the best pitching performances you've ever seen or heard of.  What comes to mind?  Roy Halladay tonight?  Roy Halladay's perfect game?  Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series?  Koufax in '65?  Jack Morris in Game 7 of the World Series in '91?  Mike Scott in the '86 NLCS - winning the NLCS MVP award as a starting pitcher on the losing team!?

I tried to see if someone else recently conducted a similar investigation and found this post by Jeff Sullivan of sbnation.com.  He only looked at post season performance, so that didn't really answer my question about best performances we've seen:
"Game score is based on a number of things, from strikeouts to runs allowed. Halladay's no-hitter racked up a game score of 94. Where does that place when you look at all other starts throughout playoff baseball history?
Turns out it places pretty high. Here's the list, courtesy of Baseball-Reference:
98. Roger Clemens, 10/14/2000
97. Dave McNally, 10/5/1969
97. Babe Ruth, 10/9/1916
94. Roy Halladay, 10/6/2010
94. Don Larsen, 10/8/1956
94. Ed Walsh, 10/11/1906
93. Josh Beckett, 10/12/2003
93. Ken Holtzman, 10/9/1973
93. Bob Gibson, 10/2/1968
92. Kevin Brown, 9/29/1998"
Well, that's interesting, except I never heard of some of those performances.  I decided to look at some all time great regular season games, like El Presidente's perfecto in 1991, as well as the 20-strikeout games of Kerry Wood, Roger Clemens (twice), and Randy Johnson.

Here are the performances I thought to look into off the top of my head:

Kerry Wood ~ Reg Sea 1998 ~ 105 GSc
Roy Halladay ~ Reg Sea 2010 ~ 98 GSc
Roger Clemens ~ 2000 ALCS gm 4 ~ 98 GSc
Roger Clemens ~ Reg Sea 1996 ~ 97 GSc
Randy Johnson ~ Reg Sea 2001 ~ 95 GSc
Roger Clemens ~ Reg Sea 1986 ~ 95 GSc
Roy Halladay ~ 2010 DS gm 1 ~ 94 GSc
Don Larsen ~ 1956 WS gm 5 ~ 94 GSc
Josh Beckett ~ 2003 NLCS gm 5 ~ 93 GSc
Kevin Brown ~ 1998 NLDS gm 1 ~ 92 GSc
Dennis Martinez ~ 1991 Reg Sea ~ 92 GSc
Randy Johnson ~ 2001 WS gm 2 ~ 91 GSc
Mike Scott ~ 1986 NLCS gm 1 ~ 90 GSc
Sandy Koufax ~ 1965 WS gm 5 ~ 88 GSc
Orel Hershiser ~ 1988 WS gm 2 ~ 87 GSc
Josh Beckett ~ 2003 WS gm 6 ~ 84 GSc
Jack Morris ~ 1991 WS gm 7 ~ 84 GSc
Cliff Lee ~ 2009 WS gm 1 ~ 83 GSc
Mark Prior ~ 2003 NLDS gm 3 ~ 80 GSc
Freddy Garcia ~ 2005 WS gm 4 ~ 73 GSc

I think Game Score may grant too much credit for strikeouts and not enough demerits for walks or HBP.  But, I'm not about to argue with Bill James.

Yesterday was his 61st birthday, and right now, I'd rather see if the Twins can come back against the Yankees bullpen.  They have Kerry Wood, Joba, and Mariano ready to rock and roll and no Joe Buck to ruin everything.  Have a great night!

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