If I asked you what the best game by a Tigers starting pitcher was this year, you'd probably spit back: Armando Galarraga's 28-out perfect game.
And I guess it's kind of hard to argue against that logic.
But there's a measurement out there that kind of sums the good things a pitcher can do in a game, subtracts the bad, and gives you a score. Fittingly that's called a Game Score! It was invented by Bill James.
It's easiest just to post the rules up front, then I'll tell you what Tigers games were best and worst this season.
- Start with 50 points.
- Add 1 point for each out recorded, so 3 points for every complete inning pitched.
- 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.
So basically we're looking for pitcher domination here. A guy that goes deep into the game and strikes out a lot will be rewarded the most. A contact guy will not score incredibly high. Then again he's not being particularly dominating if he's giving up baserunners, is he?
You want a good example of a pitcher dominating? Toronto's start by Brandon Morrow. He struck out 17, walked just two and allowed just one hit in a complete game shutout. Dominating. Score of 100. The first 100 scored since Randy Johnson threw a perfect game in 2004. Curt Schilling had similar numbers to Morrow in 2002 to score 100 also. This season there have been two of 95 or above, and 17 of 90 or above. So that's your baseline.
So how did the Tigers do?
Research from and links go to Baseball-Reference.
Top 5 game scores:
|Armando Galarraga||June 2 vs. Indians||88|
|Justin Verlander||May 2 vs. Angels||80|
|Justin Verlander||May 19 vs. A's||79|
|Max Scherzer||July 2 vs. Mariners||77|
|Max Scherzer||May 30 vs. A's||75|
Snap judgment: The Tigers should be in the A.L. West!
Rounding out the rotation: Rick Porcello's top was 72, while Jeremy Bonderman's highest score was 69.
How about lowest scores you ask?
Bottom 5 game scores (reverse order)
|Rick Porcello||April 25 vs. Rangers
|Rick Porcello||Aug. 3 vs. White Sox
|Rick Porcello||June 9 vs. White Sox
|Jeremy Bonderman||April 16 vs.Red Sox
|Max Scherzer||May 3 vs. Twins
Snap judgment: Wow, I didn't realize it was that bad for Porcello. Then again he gives out hits like Chiclets and fails to strike out batters. So what did I expect? Of course he's on the bottom five. Interesting that most of these games were in the first half of the season, too.
In case you're wondering: Brad Thomas had scores of 42 and 26 in his two starts. Eddie Bonine scored a 24. Andrew Oliver ranged from 25 to 57. Dontrelle Willis bottomed out at 33 in the Tigers' uniform. Galarraga stunk up a 24, and Verlander's lowest was 25.
So what's the average score?
Average Game Score for Tigers with Five-or-More Starts
|Player||Average Game Score|
Snap judgment: No, I could hardly believe Dontrelle Willis averaged up to 47 either. But he did have a few good games in the Tigers' uniform. I'm surprised three players all come in a 47, actually.
So there you have it. Anything that surprised you?