Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Other Great Starts

Bill James invented a junk stat -- a fun little gimmick -- called "Game Scores" to try to assess how dominant a pitcher is. It's a pretty basic concept, and it doesn't really tell anything per se, but it does sorta tell how dominant a pitcher is.

Here's the formula: Start with 50 points. Add 1 point for each out recorded, (or 3 points per inning). Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th. Add 1 point for each strikeout. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed. Subtract 1 point for each walk.

An average outing is about 50. Anything above that's pretty good. 70 is a solid start. 80 is a dominant start. And 90 is one that you'll remember for a few years.

Kerry Wood holds the record, when he had that one-hit, 20K complete game a number of years back.

So where does Jason Bergmann's outing rank with the Nats? Pretty damn good, actually.

He's tied for the fourth-best start since the team moved to Washington.

1) 92: 8/4/05 -- John Patterson struck out 13 Dodger in a four-hit shutout, a game many will remember for Brad Wilkerson's grand slam.

2) 88: 8/15/06 -- Pedro Astacio threw the most improbable game of the year, the Nationals' first CG of the year in a 5-0 2-hitter against the Braves. He struck out 5 batters and threw just 89 pitches.

3) 84: 4/15/06 -- John Patterson, before his injury, gave us a glimpse of how dominant he could be when he was on. He matched his 13 Ks but allowed a run in his 8 innings -- the run coming on back-to-back doubles in the fifth, two of the three hits he allowed.

4) 83: 9/16/05 -- John Patterson didn't know that the season would slip away over the next two games, but his CG 5-1 win over Jake Peavy and the Padres was pure clutch. He struck out 6, and allowed just three hits, while lowering his ERA to an amazing 2.65.

4) 83: 5/14/07 -- Jason Bergmann was dominant, but he didn't go the distance, knocking a few points of his potential score.

5) 82: 7/19/05 -- John Patterson started the 9th inning with a shutout, but after giving up his third hit, Frank gave him the hook. 8 strikeouts in 8 innings, with just three hits allowed. Those were the good times, weren't they?

You're probably thinking that there's one missing -- Ramon Ortiz' near no-no from last Labor Day. It's close, but definitely no cigar. He finished with a game score of 78 because he allowed a run, walked three batters, only struck out five, and eventually allowed two hits. A great start, for sure. A great memory, definitely. But it's not, all things considered, one of the five best.


  • The 8/14/05 Patterson 7-0 Win over The Dodgers was the finest pitching performance by a Nationals Player since the return of Baseball to DC. It was Patterson's finest moment. And, if I recall correctly, MLB.com stats show that night's performance as one of the top 4 Pitching Games of the 2005.

    My other personal favorite was the June 3, Florida Marlins Josh Beckett, Livan Hernandez match up in 2005, when Livan went 150 pitches into the game. Beckett went a fabulous 8 innings. Just a marvelous matchup of Smoke from one player, Mirrors from the other. Neither was involved in the 11th inning 3-2 Nats Win. But, a very memorable game.

    By Blogger Screech's Best Friend, at 5/15/2007 1:48 PM  

  • Just imagine if we had a healthy, pre-injury John Patterson and if Hill were healthy right now.

    Our rotation, which before the season looked to be the weakest link on a bad team, would actually be pretty darn respectable.

    I know, ifs and buts and all that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/15/2007 2:01 PM  

  • I was at the Dodger game, and had a Buck Sez bet running from about the 4th inning that Patterson would end up with twice as many strikes as balls. I won it, 84-32, but it was pretty close into the 9th, with a bunch of foul balls that put me over the top.

    BTW it was August 4th, not 14th.

    By Blogger DM, at 5/15/2007 2:04 PM  

  • I was there for that Livan game. A helluva job!

    I can still remember the play he made in the 9th to hold the tie. He snared a liner to double off Juan Pierre -- who you know wanted to steal!

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/15/2007 2:04 PM  

  • Thanks, DM. My fat fingers got in the way.

    The only one of those I was at was the Astacio game, which was stunning just because it came completely out of nowhere.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/15/2007 2:05 PM  

  • Three of those games were home games, and I was at 2. The one game that I missed was the Patterson game against the Dodgers. Funny thing is -- my friend took his hot neighbor to that game for a first date. He got so into the game, he didn't talk to her after about the 2nd inning. He never got another date with her.

    I was also at the Ortiz near no-no last year, and thought the crowd was a lot more into it last year. But, at least this year we had something to get into....

    By Blogger Natsfan74, at 5/16/2007 4:41 PM  

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