Monday, October 10, 2011

2011 League Division Series - Best Pitchers*

* according to Bill James' Game Score

And the WINNER is...


Now before you say "DUH" let's review Bill James' Game Score real quick.

In case you didn't know, "Game Score" is a neat and easy and FUN way to look at a starting pitcher's line in a Box Score and apply a basic formula on the stats to come up with a fundamental 'score' that "determines the strength of a pitcher in any particular baseball game.
To determine a starting pitcher's game score:

1.Start with 50 points.
2.Add 1 point for each out recorded, so 3 points for every complete inning pitched.
3.Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th.
4.Add 1 point for each strikeout.
5.Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed.
6.Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed.
7.Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed.
8.Subtract 1 point for each walk.
The maximum possible score in a 9-inning game with no baserunners allowed is 114, but of course this is possible only if the starting pitcher goes nine innings, strikes out every single batter he faces, and faces no more than 3 batters per inning. The exception to this gets a little hairy mathematically, but is never impossible...because this is baseball.

FYI, the highest game score for a 9-inning game in the history of baseball happened on May 6, 1998, when Kerry "Kid K" Wood famously struck out 20 Astros at Wrigley Field. Yowsah, that Game Score was 105.

So I thought it would be a "hoot" to complie Game Score for all SP during the postseason; now that the League Division Series is are the results, and the top 5 winners:

Chris Carpenter (84) 10/7/11 STL @ PHI NLDS G5
Yovani Gallardo (78) 10/1/11 ARI @ MIL NLDS G1
Matt Moore (77) 9/30/11 TB @ TEX ALDS G1
Josh Collmenter (73) MIL @ ARI NLDS G3
Roy Halladay (72) STL @ PHI NLDS G5

Interesting notes I made, regarding the top 5:
Only 1 AL pitcher appeared in the top 5 (Moore)
Only 1 pitcher earned his score at home (Collmenter)
Only 1 pitcher did not win the game (Halladay)
Each of the 4 contending NL pitchers made the top 5

In general (all 38 pitchers with starts in the LDS):
Lowest score - Randy Wolf (14) 10/5/11 MIL @ ARI NLDS G4
Lowest score by a winning pitcher - Derek Holland (47) 10/1/11 TB @ TEX ALDS G2
Average Game Score by SP in the 2011 LDS: 50.6

So now you can say "DUH"...I think even folks who have been dead for several years said nothing less than "WOW" when Carp tossed his gem on 10/7/11 to efficiently help the Cardinals advance to the LCS...Halladay's top score as the losing pitcher in that very same game also speaks volumes to the level of competition seen during that game.

You can review my work on the spreadsheet on Google Docs.

I will continue to tally the Game Score for the LCS, and post the results when that phase of the postseason is over.

If you enjoy my work, I encourage you to spread the word via Twitter (I am @yoshiki89), and also please leave a comment!

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