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)
Watching Sunday Night Baseball, and I was about to leave the room to take a shower (man, is it hot here…I’m constantly sweating) when I saw across the bottom line, next to the Oakland logo, “Second perfect game in team history and 19th perfect game in ML history”. The title of this entry was pretty much my reaction. Oakland produced a perfect game? Oakland? I immediately took out my computer, and…naturally, my first reaction was to see if this had screwed over my Baseball Challenge entry in any way, since it’s quite likely that I wouldn’t have taken “facing Oakland” as a huge threat worthy of benching a good hitter. Nope, everything was safe…and then I went over to the scoreboard, to see why I didn’t have anyone from Oakland’s opponent. And the holy s*** factor continued. See, with my beloved Red Sox stuck in fourth place, I don’t want to worry about split loyalties, so as good as they may be, I leave the AL East’s power teams out of my entries…and the A’s were facing the Tampa Bay Rays today. Yeah, the Rays. Best record in baseball Rays. Those guys. The annoying things that won’t go away. For one day, they went away, hard. Also, second time in under a year that they got perfected. They’ve only been involved in three total no-hitters in their short franchise history, the third also being from the losing end…but put it this way: The Devil Rays were around for 10 seasons, finishing in last place in nine of them and fourth in the other, and were only no-hit once, and it wasn’t a perfect game. They changed their name to the Rays, and finished above .500 in both completed years including one league pennant, and in their third year under the new name have gotten off to the best start in the majors…yet in this not-even-a-quarter-of-the-time, as a much better team, have been the victims of two perfect games.
Also of note: This is the shortest time between perfect games in over 125 years. The only time that two perfect games were thrown within a shorter period of time was in June of 1880, when the first and second perfect games in major league history were thrown within a week of one another. Incredible.
The announcers acknowledged the perfect game, and Jon Miller initially referred to it as “a nice Mother’s Day gift for mom,” but his partner (not sure who it is, but it’s apparently a pitcher because Miller asked him about if he ever came close to a perfect game/no-hitter) eventually corrected him–Dallas Braden’s mother has been deceased for some time, a victim of cancer. (Well, one of the partners–Joe Morgan is still there, too.) However, Braden’s grandmother was in attendance at today’s game, so yeah. (She also had some choice comments about A-Rod–apparently Braden was the pitcher involved in A-Rod’s latest on-field faux pas, crossing the mound when returning to first after a foul ball, and this argument’s been going on for awhile.)
Also, follow-up alert: No, the Tigers were not the first team to score only four runs when they hit four home runs. In fact, they’re not even the first team to score only four runs when two players had multi-home run games, which was the case (Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila had the homers for the Tigers). It last happened in 1982, when Cecil Cooper and Robin Yount had two home runs each for the Brewers.
More Sunday Night Baseball: Miller just called J.D. Drew “Steven”. Right family, but…
Retroactive correction: Obviously, looking back at this entry, it’s obvious that the former pitcher in the booth would have been Orel Hershiser.