Friday, October 11, 2013

Outstanding Postseason Pitching Performances

Last night, many of you might have been engrossed with the Bears-Giants game or the Minnesota Lynx winning the WNBA championship. You might have missed that Justin Verlander shut down the A's with a gem of a pitching performance allowing the Tigers to advance to the ALCS. This short post has two lists--the first is the best SERIES-DECIDING games in postseason history, ranked by game score: 
Rk Player Date Series Gm# Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc BF
1 Justin Verlander 2012-10-11 ALDS 5 DET OAK W 6-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 4 0 0 1 11 0 122 83 89 31
2 Mike Hampton 2000-10-16 NLCS 5 NYM STL W 7-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 1 8 0 120 74 88 31
3 Bobby Jones 2000-10-08 NLDS 4 NYM SFG W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 1 0 0 2 5 0 116 73 88 30
4 Mike Mussina 1997-10-15 ALCS 6 BAL CLE L 0-1 GS-8 8.0 1 0 0 2 10 0 107 73 88 27
5 Sandy Koufax 1965-10-14 WS 7 LAD MIN W 2-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 3 10 0 132 86 88 33
6 Justin Verlander 2013-10-10 ALDS 5 DET OAK W 3-0 GS-8 ,W 8.0 2 0 0 1 10 0 111 76 87 27
7 John Smoltz 1997-10-03 NLDS 3 ATL HOU W 4-1 CG 9 ,W 9.0 3 1 1 1 11 1 103 76 87 32
8 Orval Overall 1908-10-14 WS 5 CHC DET W 2-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 4 10 0 87 34
9 Cole Hamels 2010-10-10 NLDS 3 PHI CIN W 2-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 5 0 0 0 9 0 119 82 86 31
10 Tom Glavine 1995-10-28 WS 6 ATL CLE W 1-0 GS-8 ,W 8.0 1 0 0 3 8 0 109 67 85 27
11 Chris Carpenter 2011-10-07 NLDS 5 STL PHI W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 0 3 0 110 70 84 31
12 Josh Beckett 2003-10-25 WS 6 FLA NYY W 2-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 5 0 0 2 9 0 107 71 84 32
13 Jack Morris 1991-10-27 WS 7 MIN ATL W 1-0 SHO10 ,W 10.0 7 0 0 2 8 0 126 79 84 38
14 Milt Wilcox 1984-10-05 ALCS 3 DET KCR W 1-0 GS-8 ,W 8.0 2 0 0 2 8 0 110 79 84 28
15 Bill Dinneen 1903-10-13 WS 8 BOS PIT W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 4 0 0 2 7 0 84 31
16 Ralph Terry 1962-10-16 WS 7 NYY SFG W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 4 0 0 0 4 0 83 31
17 CC Sabathia 2012-10-12 ALDS 5 NYY BAL W 3-1 CG 9 ,W 9.0 4 1 1 2 9 0 121 78 82 32
18 Cliff Lee 2010-10-12 ALDS 5 TEX TBR W 5-1 CG 9 ,W 9.0 6 1 1 0 11 0 120 89 82 33
19 John Smoltz 1991-10-17 NLCS 7 ATL PIT W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 6 0 0 1 8 0 123 82 82 35
20 Ernie Shore 1916-10-12 WS 5 BOS BRO W 4-1 CG 9 ,W 9.0 3 1 0 1 4 0 82 33
21 Jose Rijo 1990-10-20 WS 4 CIN OAK W 2-1 GS-9 ,W 8.1 2 1 1 3 9 0 114 73 81 30
22 Scott McGregor 1983-10-16 WS 5 BAL PHI W 5-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 5 0 0 2 6 0 113 83 81 33
23 Dave McNally 1966-10-09 WS 4 BAL LAD W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 4 0 0 2 4 0 81 30
24 Eddie Plank 1913-10-11 WS 5 PHA NYG W 3-1 CG 9 ,W 9.0 2 1 0 1 1 0 81 29
25 Christy Mathewson 1905-10-14 WS 5 NYG PHA W 2-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 5 0 0 0 4 0 81 31
26 Tim Lincecum 2010-11-01 WS 5 SFG TEX W 3-1 GS-8 ,W 8.0 3 1 1 2 10 1 101 71 80 29
27 Orel Hershiser 1988-10-12 NLCS 7 LAD NYM W 6-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 5 0 0 2 5 0 80 35
28 Bob Gibson 1967-10-12 WS 7 STL BOS W 7-2 CG 9 ,W 9.0 3 2 2 3 10 0 80 32
29 Dizzy Dean 1934-10-09 WS 7 STL DET W 11-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 6 0 0 0 5 0 80 34
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/11/2013.

There's Verlander at the top of the list, except it was his game closing out the 2012 ALDS against Oakland--his game of last night is the 6th one on the list. As a reminder, game score is a Bill James invention that is weighted heavily toward strikeouts and not giving up hits. It's not the only way to measure a game, but it provides a handy framework with which to make objective comparisons between games.

The above list were games that ended series--this next one is the best 50 games by game score in playoff history:
Rk Player Date Series Gm# Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc BF
1 Roger Clemens 2000-10-14 ALCS 4 NYY SEA W 5-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 1 0 0 2 15 0 138 87 98 30
2 Dave McNally 1969-10-05 ALCS 2 BAL MIN W 1-0 SHO11 ,W 11.0 3 0 0 5 11 0 97 41
3 Babe Ruth 1916-10-09 WS 2 BOS BRO W 2-1 CG 14 ,W 14.0 6 1 1 3 4 1 97 48
4 Tim Lincecum 2010-10-07 NLDS 1 SFG ATL W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 0 0 1 14 0 119 75 96 30
5 Roy Halladay 2010-10-06 NLDS 1 PHI CIN W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 0 0 0 1 8 0 104 79 94 28
6 Don Larsen 1956-10-08 WS 5 NYY BRO W 2-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 0 0 0 0 7 0 94 27
7 Ed Walsh 1906-10-11 WS 3 CHW CHC W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 0 0 1 12 0 94 30
8 Josh Beckett 2003-10-12 NLCS 5 FLA CHC W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 0 0 1 11 0 115 80 93 30
9 Ken Holtzman 1973-10-09 ALCS 3 OAK BAL W 2-1 CG 11 ,W 11.0 3 1 1 1 7 1 93 38
10 Bob Gibson 1968-10-02 WS 1 STL DET W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 5 0 0 1 17 0 93 32
11 Kevin Brown 1998-09-29 NLDS 1 SDP HOU W 2-1 GS-8 ,W 8.0 2 0 0 2 16 0 119 77 92 28
12 Randy Johnson 2001-10-28 WS 2 ARI NYY W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 1 11 0 110 76 91 30
13 Randy Johnson 2001-10-16 NLCS 1 ARI ATL W 2-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 1 11 0 125 87 91 31
14 Cliff Lee 2010-10-18 ALCS 3 TEX NYY W 8-0 GS-8 ,W 8.0 2 0 0 1 13 0 122 82 90 27
15 Livan Hernandez 1997-10-12 NLCS 5 FLA ATL W 2-1 CG 9 ,W 9.0 3 1 1 2 15 1 143 88 90 31
16 Nolan Ryan 1986-10-14 NLCS 5 HOU NYM L 1-2 GS-9 9.0 2 1 1 1 12 1 90 30
17 Mike Scott 1986-10-08 NLCS 1 HOU NYM W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 5 0 0 1 14 0 125 88 90 34
18 Vida Blue 1974-10-08 ALCS 3 OAK BAL W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 0 0 0 7 0 90 30
19 Monte Pearson 1939-10-05 WS 2 NYY CIN W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 0 0 1 8 0 90 29
20 George Earnshaw 1931-10-06 WS 4 PHA STL W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 0 0 1 8 0 90 30
21 Bill Dinneen 1903-10-02 WS 2 BOS PIT W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 2 11 0 90 29
22 Justin Verlander 2012-10-11 ALDS 5 DET OAK W 6-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 4 0 0 1 11 0 122 83 89 31
23 Curt Schilling 2001-10-09 NLDS 1 ARI STL W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 1 9 0 101 74 89 32
24 Kevin Millwood 1999-10-06 NLDS 2 ATL HOU W 5-1 CG 9 ,W 9.0 1 1 1 0 8 1 89 29
25 Kevin Brown 1998-10-08 NLCS 2 SDP ATL W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 3 11 0 122 78 89 32
Rk Player Date Series Gm# Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc BF
26 Jon Matlack 1973-10-07 NLCS 2 NYM CIN W 5-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 0 0 3 9 0 89 31
27 Don Drysdale 1963-10-05 WS 3 LAD NYY W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 1 9 0 89 32
28 Hod Eller 1919-10-06 WS 5 CIN CHW W 5-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 1 9 0 89 31
29 Mike Hampton 2000-10-16 NLCS 5 NYM STL W 7-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 1 8 0 120 74 88 31
30 Bobby Jones 2000-10-08 NLDS 4 NYM SFG W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 1 0 0 2 5 0 116 73 88 30
31 Mike Mussina 1997-10-15 ALCS 6 BAL CLE L 0-1 GS-8 8.0 1 0 0 2 10 0 107 73 88 27
32 Mike Boddicker 1983-10-06 ALCS 2 BAL CHW W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 5 0 0 3 14 0 140 92 88 36
33 Jim Lonborg 1967-10-05 WS 2 BOS STL W 5-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 1 0 0 1 4 0 88 29
34 Sandy Koufax 1965-10-14 WS 7 LAD MIN W 2-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 3 10 0 132 86 88 33
35 Sandy Koufax 1965-10-11 WS 5 LAD MIN W 7-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 4 0 0 1 10 0 88 29
36 Whitey Ford 1961-10-04 WS 1 NYY CIN W 2-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 0 0 1 6 0 88 30
37 Warren Spahn 1958-10-05 WS 4 MLN NYY W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 0 0 2 7 0 88 31
38 Allie Reynolds 1949-10-05 WS 1 NYY BRO W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 0 0 4 9 0 88 33
39 Bill James 1914-10-10 WS 2 BSN PHA W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 0 0 3 8 0 88 28
40 Jack Coombs 1911-10-17 WS 3 PHA NYG W 3-2 CG 11 ,W 11.0 3 2 1 4 7 0 88 36
41 Justin Verlander 2013-10-10 ALDS 5 DET OAK W 3-0 GS-8 ,W 8.0 2 0 0 1 10 0 111 76 87 27
42 Josh Beckett 2007-10-03 ALDS 1 BOS LAA W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 4 0 0 0 8 0 108 83 87 31
43 Roger Clemens 2000-10-22 WS 2 NYY NYM W 6-5 GS-8 ,W 8.0 2 0 0 0 9 0 112 78 87 28
44 John Smoltz 1997-10-03 NLDS 3 ATL HOU W 4-1 CG 9 ,W 9.0 3 1 1 1 11 1 103 76 87 32
45 Orel Hershiser 1988-10-16 WS 2 LAD OAK W 6-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 2 8 0 87 31
46 Bob Forsch 1982-10-07 NLCS 1 STL ATL W 7-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 0 6 0 104 74 87 30
47 Bob Gibson 1964-10-12 WS 5 STL NYY W 5-2 CG 10 ,W 10.0 6 2 0 2 13 1 87 39
48 Vic Raschi 1950-10-04 WS 1 NYY PHI W 1-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 2 0 0 1 5 0 87 30
49 Schoolboy Rowe 1934-10-04 WS 2 DET STL W 3-2 CG 12 ,W 12.0 7 2 2 0 7 0 87 42
50 Orval Overall 1908-10-14 WS 5 CHC DET W 2-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 4 10 0 87 34
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/11/2013.

Now the more familiar games appear--Larsen's perfect game, Babe Ruth showing that he was every bit the pitcher as he was a hitter and so on. Verlander drops to 41st on this list, nothing to be ashamed of as that would place his game in the top 1.5% of the approximately 2,800 postseason starts since 1903--a very lofty perch with excellent company. Imagine how the A's must feel:
1. Eliminated from the playoffs for the second year in a row
2. By the same team
3. By the same pitcher
4. In a shutout

5. At home

Makes for a long winter.

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