No no-no, but still one of the best performances ever

Does that sound weird? Well, yeah, it does. I’m not really sure if I agree with the theory behind “game score”. The metric is simple enough: Base score of 50, add 1 point for each out recorded, 1 more for each strikeout, and 2 for each inning completed starting with the 5th. (This in itself seems a bit cheap, since starters should be able to get through 5, even 6 innings–probably more.) Subtract four points for each earned run allowed, two for each unearned run, two for each hit, and one for each walk. As such, a nine-inning perfect game (or other no-hit, no-walk shutout) would be 87 points plus the number of strikeouts. This means that a low-strikeout no-hitter will usually only be in the 90s, or the 80s if there are a lot of walks (Edwin Jackson’s game score in his no-hitter was only 85, due to having 8 walks and only 6 strikeouts). Brandon Morrow, though he failed to get the no-hitter, had 17 strikeouts while only allowing 1 hit and two walks. That’s good for a final game score of 100, tied for fourth-best in a nine-inning game in the live-ball era, behind only Kerry Wood (1 hit, no walks, 20 strikeouts in 1998–game score 105), Sandy Koufax (14 strikeouts, perfect game in 1965–game score 101), and Nolan Ryan (16 strikeouts, 2 walks, no-hitter in 1991–game score 101). The last one to crack triple digits? Randy Johnson in 2004, when he struck out 13 in his perfect game. A quick look at the Kerry Wood game–only 7 outs not made by strikeouts and only one hit, no walks–shows that the maximum possible in a nine-inning game would seem to be 114. (Actually, it’s more like 141, since as many as three batters can reach on a third-strike passed ball/wild pitch in each inning without any runs scoring. However, this would take at least 162 pitches, and that’s with each strikeout requiring the minimum three pitches. In other words, don’t count on it.) That Morrow came that close to “perfection” without actually getting the no-hitter seems weird…or does it? Certainly, it was a better-pitched game than Edwin Jackson’s no-hitter, or even possibly Dallas Braden’s perfect game. (However, it could be argued that it wasn’t even the best-pitched “1-hitter” of the year–Armando Galarraga’s imperfect game required just 83 88 pitches, a model of efficiency.) On another note, what’s the highest game score ever recorded? Harvey Haddix’s “Best game ever pitched” had a game score of 107 (1 hit, 1 walk, 1 unearned run, 8 strikeouts, 12.2 IP). Has anyone else gone higher? (Probably–pitchers used to complete games no matter how long they were, and each extra inning adds 5 more to the game score–three for the outs and two for the inning completion. A 16-inning complete game–which has happened–would have a baseline of 122 before adding strikeouts and subtracting hits/walks/runs)

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