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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ervin Santana's 4/15/17 Gem Ranks High On AT Twins List

Who says there's no pitching in today's MLB?

Today's lovely 6-0, 1 hit, 1 walk, 8 strikeout, nine inning shutout  win against the Chicago White Sox by Ervin Santana vaults him to a nice spot near the top of the Twins All-Time Top 116 single game pitching performances, as measured by his 92 Game Score. It tied him with several other greats in Twins history, namely Johan Santana, Jim Kaat, Dave GoltzGerry Arrigo and Milton, again. Game Score is a 1980s Bill James creation, as explained in my "Brief & Damn Near Worthless Sabrmetrics Guide. In brief, it awards points for strikeouts, innings pitched, and outs recorded, while subtracting points for hits, walks, and earned runs allowed.

It really helps distinguish the wonderfully dominating starts that characterize elite pitchers from those outings of pitchers that needed a fair amount of fielding luck and walks and hits to get through nine innings.

Eric Milton is #1 on our list, whose 1999 no-hitter versus the Angels  (You Tube) was above all other starts in team history in terms of quality and economy. It was fast. It was dominating. And It was clean, like Santana's was today. He faced 28 batters. Santana, 29. Milton punched out 13 in his gem, which clocked in at 2:28. Santana, again, k'd 8 in a zippy 2:26, by comparison. Pretty comparable, right? The main seperator between them was the five extra strikeouts, and one hit allowed by Santana.



It's probably worth noting that Bert Blyleven has pitched 5 of the TOP 25 Game Score games in team history, more than any other hurler. You should also note that Santana's game today rates higher than no-hit games pitched by Jack Kralick in 1962 (#34 on our list), Scott Erickson in 1994 (#48), and Francisco Liriano in 2011.

Photo: Jim Mones, AP
Part of the fun of lists like these is that they give Twins fans, old and young, an opportunity to recall the great games they remember seeng in person, or on radio or TV. Anyone born as early as the 1980s remembers watching Scott Baker's no-hit bid against KC in 2007 (#7), or Andrew Albers's 2013 2-hitter versus the Tribe (#116), for example. I obviously fit into the "prehistoric duffer" category, as I can readily recall the 1973 Joe Decker 15 strikeout game (#14), or the Dave Goltz 11 inning 2-1, complete game win in 1977 (#20). Feel free to post your favorite game reminiscences from those you see in the list!  

NO HIT PITCHERS IN RED CAPS, others referenced appear in BLUE.
-I'm adding box score links to the dates, check back sometime to check 'em out-

Rk             Player          Date Opp   Rslt   IP H R BB SO GSc
1         ERIC MILTON    1999-09-11 ANA  W 7-0  9.0 0 0  2 13  98
2       Bert Blyleven    1975-08-27 MIL  W 1-0 11.0 6 0  1 13  97
3        Dave Boswell    1966-07-30 BAL  W 7-0  9.0 1 0  1 11  95
4         Jim Merritt 1967-05-30(2) NYY  W 3-0  9.0 2 0  0 11  94
5       Bert Blyleven    1986-08-01 OAK W 10-1  9.0 2 1  1 15  93
6        Kevin Tapani    1992-06-24 CAL W 11-0  9.0 2 0  0 10  93
7         Scott Baker 2007-08-31(2) KCR  W 5-0  9.0 1 0  1  9  93
NEW!      Ervin Santana  2017-04-15 CHI  W 6-0  9.0 1 0  1  8  92
8 Johan Santana 2004-07-06 KCR W 4-0 9.0 3 0 2 13 92 9 Jim Kaat 1967-09-18 KCA W 2-0 10.0 6 0 0 12 92 10 Eric Milton 2002-08-01 CHW W 6-0 9.0 3 0 0 11 92 11 Dave Goltz 1976-08-31(1) MIL W 4-0 9.0 2 0 2 11 92 12 Dave Goltz 1977-08-23 BOS W 7-0 9.0 1 0 3 10 92 13 Gerry Arrigo 1964-06-26(1) CHW W 2-0 9.0 1 0 1 8 92 14 Joe Decker 1973-06-26 CHW W 4-0 9.0 4 0 3 15 91 15 Camilo Pascual 1961-07-19(1) LAA W 6-0 9.0 5 0 1 15 91 16 Jim Merritt 1966-07-21 WSA W 1-0 9.0 3 0 2 12 91 17 Dean Chance 1968-06-19 WSA W 4-0 9.0 3 0 0 10 91 18 Frank Viola 1986-10-05 CHW W 3-0 9.0 2 0 1 9 91 19 Ervin Santana 2016-07-06 OAK W 4-0 9.0 2 0 0 8 91 20 Dave Goltz 1977-07-25 OAK W 2-1 11.0 8 1 1 14 90 21 Bert Blyleven 1973-09-14 CHW W 6-0 9.0 4 0 1 12 90 22 Camilo Pascual 1963-09-18 DET W 10-0 9.0 2 0 3 10 90 23 Bert Blyleven 1973-09-26 OAK W 4-1 9.0 1 1 1 8 90 24 Bert Blyleven 1973-05-24 KCR W 2-0 9.0 1 0 2 7 90 25 Jim Perry 1970-09-25 KCR W 1-0 9.0 2 0 0 7 90 26 Mudcat Grant 1965-09-25(1) WSA W 5-0 9.0 1 0 2 7 90 27 Dave Boswell 1968-05-29 CLE W 1-0 9.0 3 0 2 10 89 28 Jim Kaat 1962-04-22 LAA W 5-0 9.0 4 0 0 10 89 29 Johan Santana 2005-08-12 OAK W 1-0 9.0 3 0 1 9 89 30 Kevin Slowey 2008-06-29 MIL W 5-0 9.0 3 0 0 8 89 31 Brad Radke 2005-05-05 CLE W 9-0 9.0 3 0 0 8 89 32 Scott Erickson 1991-05-01 BOS W 1-0 9.0 2 0 1 7 89 33 Jim Merritt 1967-09-21 KCA W 4-0 9.0 2 0 0 6 89 34 JACK KRALICK 1962-08-26 KCA W 1-0 9.0 0 0 1 3 89 35 Bert Blyleven 1974-05-24 TEX W 9-0 9.0 5 0 0 11 88 36 Dick Woodson 1972-08-01 TEX W 3-0 9.0 3 0 3 10 88 37 Bert Blyleven 1972-05-03 MIL W 7-0 9.0 4 0 1 10 88 38 Johan Santana 2005-06-08 ARI W 10-0 9.0 4 0 0 9 88 39 Bert Blyleven 1986-07-13 NYY W 5-0 9.0 3 0 1 8 88 40 Dave Goltz 1976-09-09 TEX W 6-0 9.0 3 0 1 8 88 41 Jim Kaat 1973-07-01 CAL W 2-1 9.0 1 1 0 7 88 42 Dean Chance 1968-09-23 CAL W 3-0 9.0 3 0 0 7 88 43 Jim Kaat 1962-06-23 LAA W 5-0 9.0 3 0 0 7 88 44 Bill Krueger 1992-06-30 CAL W 2-0 9.0 2 0 1 6 88 45 Scott Erickson 1991-06-24 NYY W 5-0 9.0 2 0 1 6 88 46 Geoff Zahn 1980-06-06 TOR W 5-0 9.0 1 0 3 6 88 47 Scott Baker 2009-08-14 CLE W 11-0 9.0 2 0 0 5 88 48 SCOTT ERICKSON 1994-04-27 MIL W 6-0 9.0 0 0 4 5 88 49 Gary Serum 1978-08-19 TOR W 5-0 9.0 2 0 0 5 88 50 Bert Blyleven 1974-08-30 BOS W 3-2 9.0 4 2 2 14 87 51 Camilo Pascual 1963-07-23 CLE L 2-3 12.2 7 3 2 11 87 52 Brad Radke 1997-07-20 OAK W 1-0 9.0 5 0 0 10 87 53 Joe Decker 1973-08-24 MIL W 3-0 9.0 4 0 2 10 87 54 Jim Kaat 1966-09-25 DET W 1-0 9.0 4 0 1 9 87 55 Dick Stigman 1963-05-29 WSA W 10-1 9.0 2 1 3 9 87 56 Dave Goltz 1976-09-25 CAL W 6-0 9.0 2 0 4 8 87 57 Dean Chance 1968-04-10 WSA W 2-0 9.0 4 0 0 8 87 58 Dean Chance 1967-05-11 KCA W 8-0 9.0 1 0 6 8 87 59 Camilo Pascual 1963-05-25 CHW W 6-0 9.0 2 0 4 8 87 60 Eric Milton 1999-07-31 ANA W 8-0 9.0 3 0 1 7 87 61 Darrell Jackson 1978-07-07(2) OAK W 1-0 9.0 3 0 1 7 87 62 Jim Perry 1970-08-07 OAK W 2-1 11.0 5 1 3 7 87 63 Camilo Pascual 1962-09-30 BAL W 1-0 9.0 3 0 1 7 87 64 Camilo Pascual 1961-09-23(2) WSA W 10-0 9.0 2 0 3 7 87 65 Scott Diamond 2012-07-27 CLE W 11-0 9.0 3 0 0 6 87 66 Joe Mays 2002-08-16 BOS W 5-0 9.0 2 0 2 6 87 67 Dave Goltz 1974-10-01 TEX W 6-0 9.0 2 0 1 5 87 68 Dick Stigman 1964-07-03 NYY W 1-0 10.0 4 0 2 5 87 69 Dave Boswell 1969-09-19 SEP W 2-1 9.0 5 1 1 14 86 70 Jim Kaat 1968-09-02 BOS W 5-1 9.0 3 1 2 11 86 71 Camilo Pascual 1962-07-13 WSA W 4-0 9.0 4 0 3 10 86 72 Kevin Tapani 1990-05-06 MIL W 4-0 9.0 5 0 0 9 86 73 Jim Perry 1970-09-01(1) MIL W 4-0 9.0 5 0 0 9 86 74 Camilo Pascual 1961-08-29 NYY W 3-0 9.0 4 0 2 9 86 75 Camilo Pascual 1961-05-20 KCA W 2-0 9.0 5 0 0 9 86 76 Brad Radke 1998-06-09 CHC W 8-0 9.0 4 0 1 8 86 77 Bert Blyleven 1970-08-26 BOS W 7-0 9.0 4 0 1 8 86 78 Bert Blyleven 1970-06-27 CHW W 9-1 9.0 2 1 1 8 86 79 DEAN CHANCE 1967-08-25(2) CLE W 2-1 9.0 0 1 5 8 86 80 Brad Radke 2001-06-12 HOU W 7-0 9.0 4 0 0 7 86 81 Jerry Koosman 1979-09-04 KCR W 5-1 9.0 2 1 0 7 86 82 Bert Blyleven 1973-06-16 DET W 5-0 9.0 4 0 0 7 86 83 Jim Kaat 1966-08-27 CHW W 1-0 9.0 3 0 2 7 86 84 Camilo Pascual 1961-05-15 CHW W 5-0 9.0 4 0 0 7 86 85 Frank Viola 1984-05-19 BOS W 7-0 9.0 3 0 1 6 86 86 Geoff Zahn 1977-07-10 SEA W 15-0 9.0 3 0 1 6 86 87 Luis Tiant 1970-04-26 DET W 6-0 9.0 3 0 1 6 86 88 Camilo Pascual 1961-08-23 CHW W 4-0 9.0 2 0 3 6 86 89 Dick Woodson 1972-09-06 TEX W 2-0 9.0 2 0 2 5 86 90 Jim Perry 1966-07-19(2) WSA W 4-0 9.0 2 0 2 5 86 91 Scott Erickson 1992-07-24(1) BOS W 5-0 9.0 1 0 2 3 86 92 Dean Chance 1967-07-02(1) WSA W 4-1 9.0 5 1 0 12 85 93 Jim Kaat 1963-07-24(2) CLE W 5-0 9.0 6 0 1 11 85 94 Dean Chance 1967-06-01 BOS W 4-0 9.0 5 0 2 10 85 95 Jim Perry 1966-08-16 CAL W 8-1 9.0 3 1 4 10 85 96 Jim Kaat 1961-09-14(2) LAA W 3-1 9.0 3 1 2 10 85 97 Brad Radke 1997-09-21 MIL W 2-1 10.0 6 1 0 9 85 98 Jim Perry 1966-06-26(2) DET W 7-1 9.0 3 1 3 9 85 99 Kyle Lohse 2002-08-20 CHW W 5-0 9.0 4 0 2 8 85 100 Bert Blyleven 1985-08-17 SEA W 2-0 9.0 3 0 4 8 85 101 Bert Blyleven 1972-09-22 CAL W 1-0 9.0 5 0 0 8 85 102 Tom Hall 1969-08-24 NYY W 1-0 9.0 4 0 2 8 85 103 Dean Chance 1968-08-03 DET W 4-0 9.0 4 0 2 8 85 104 Joe Mays 1999-07-17 CHC W 8-0 9.0 3 0 3 7 85 105 Dick Woodson 1973-05-13 KCR W 5-0 9.0 3 0 3 7 85 106 Jim Merritt 1968-06-04 NYY W 3-0 9.0 4 0 1 7 85 107 Jim Perry 1968-04-13 NYY W 6-0 9.0 4 0 1 7 85 108 Bert Blyleven 1986-08-11 CAL W 2-0 9.0 3 0 2 6 85 109 Tom Hall 1969-04-18 CAL W 6-0 9.0 2 0 4 6 85 110 Camilo Pascual 1963-05-10 KCA W 2-0 9.0 3 0 2 6 85 111 Bert Blyleven 1973-06-08 BAL W 2-0 9.0 2 0 3 5 85 112 Jack Kralick 1963-04-25 WSA W 3-0 9.0 3 0 1 5 85 113 Dick Stigman 1963-04-18 LAA W 3-0 9.0 3 0 1 5 85 114 Jim Kaat 1962-07-19 CLE W 8-0 9.0 3 0 1 5 85 115 Pedro Ramos 1961-04-11 NYY W 6-0 9.0 3 0 1 5 85 116 Andrew Albers 2013-08-12 CLE W 3-0 9.0 2 0 0 2 85
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/15/2017.

To generate this list at Baseball Reference, I began at 85 as my absolute bottom benchmark score. Any game lower than this failed to make the list, like Francisco Liriano's 83 in his 2011 no-hitter. I vividly recall saying in my "25 Best Pitched Twins Games" * post that that game wasn't even close to  being the best pitched game of his career, and being chastised as being ridiculous by one friend ("A no-hitter HAS to be the best game he's ever thrown!"). Because throwing a no-hitter is the be-all/end-all criterion, and nothing else matters, I guess. Walk 11 or 12 guys, strike out 3, and have your fielders catch 4 "At-em" balls? No matter!

* A post that now looks hopelessly arbitrary, unscientific, and very subjective today, as there's no rank order, and I was going completely off of memory. Of course, I didn't have the benefit of the "BBRef Play Index" to guide me 6 years ago!

But owing to Liriano's 6 walks and a mere 2 strikeouts in that effort, I stand by my earlier idea. I think most people would agree a game that is as clean as Santana's was today, nice to watch and tinged with an artistic flair, is qualitatively better. I don't care if I see a 10 walk, 4 strikeout, 12-inning complete game no-hitter tomorrow, I'll still maintain a "clean," economical pitching effort with 2 hits allowed gets the nod.

"So long, everybody!" - Herb Carneal

6 comments:

Mickey Mental said...

Good list. Nice job. I was born in 1958 and remember a lot of them. Although it's pretty hard to ignore one yuge omission: Mudcat Grant's 5-1 win in game six of the '65 World Series. 9ip, 1r, 5h, 6k, 1bb. Oh yeah -- and a three-run homer. In an elimination game.

Michael B said...

Just regular season games, my man, no post-season. Too rich for my pocket book.

Mickey, BTW - I've always wanted to meet you man. #hero

Joel Acker said...

Why is Scott Baker's game score so much lower? He gave up 1 hit & 1 BB, like Ervin, but had 9 Ks instead of 8. It looks like he had a better game than Ervin based on those metrics...

Michael B said...

Joel -- my mistake! I used MLB's number from their box score of the game, in which they list Ervin Santana's score as 98--while baseball reference uses the Bill James strategy verbatim. So what this means is that ttwo groups use a different calculation method - thus, Santana did not score a 98 but instead one point less than Scott Baker, which is 92. For consistency sake, I will use the baseball reference strategy.I'll make my corrections to this post ASAP (that would only be right in proper!). Needless to say, I'm dismayed in not knowing the difference in how the two websites calculate this metric! Live and learn…

Joel Acker said...

Very interesting that there are different formulas. I had never paid much attention to game scores before, so I really appreciate the education about them from your post! Thanks!

Michael B said...

Well, Joel, I just think they're not only a good way to judge the effectiveness of a pitcher' start, but also a good way to judge a "superior" effort relative to an "exceptional" or "excellent" effort. Thanks for checking in, and commenting, and finding a significant difference. I would rather be correct than not! Here is a link to the side-by-side comparison's between BBRef and MLB's calculation methodology" http://m.mlb.com/glossary/advanced-stats/game-score