Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Highest Game Score in a Loss

Yesterday I posted about the lowest game scores for a winning pitcher. For a refresher on what a game score is and how it's figured, click here to see the post.

Today I want to look at the opposite of yesterdday's post: the highest game scores by a losing pitcher. Since game scores reward pitchers who throw a lot of innings in a game, I'm going to split it into nine-inning games and extra-inning games in order to avoid a bunch of ten and eleven inning outings on the list before getting to any regular-length games. Since it's rare for a pitcher these days to go past nine innings, having two different leaderboards should help get some more recent games on the list.

I decided to forgo making a table in favor of a simpler list. I don't have the pitcher's team or opponent, but that information can be found by clicking on the date of each pitcher's start.

Highest Game Score by a Losing Pitcher, 1956-2008
(Games with ten or more innings)
  • Harvey Haddix - 107 - 5/26/1959 - 12.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K

  • Jim Maloney - 106 - 6/14/1965 - 11.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 18 K

  • Juan Marichal - 104 - 8/19/1969 - 13.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K

  • Nolan Ryan - 99 - 8/20/1974 - 11.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 19 K

  • Dick Drago - 98 - 5/24/1972 - 12.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K

  • Warren Spahn - 97 - 7/2/1963 - 15.1 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
    Pedro Ramos - 97 - 8/23/1963 - 13.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 14 K
    Bill Singer - 97 - 8/3/1973 - 11.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 R, 1 BB, 13 K

  • Al Jackson - 96 - 8/14/1962 - 15.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K
    Steve McCatty - 96 - 8/10/1980 - 14.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 K

  • Sandy Koufax - 93 - 5/28/1960 - 13.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 9 BB, 15 K

  • Bob Rush - 92 - 8/23/1957 - 15.1 IP, 11 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 K
    Camilo Pascual - 92 - 6/5/1958 - 13.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K

  • Chuck Dobson - 91 - 5/21/1968 - 11.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
    Sam McDowell - 91 - 6/13/1968 - 11.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 14 K
    Ed Halicki - 91 - 5/26/1975 - 10.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
Those games show how starters have been reigned in over the years. Only five of those sixteen games took place after 1970 and the last one was in 1980. Given that only five pitchers in the past decade have reached ten innings in a game (and a starter going past nine innings has happened 50 times since 1990), these days it's impossible to think of a starter going 12 or more innings.

There are a couple notable games in the above collection. Harvey Haddix's outing on top of the list was a perfect game for twelve innings. In the bottom of the thirteenth, Felix Mantilla reached on an error, Eddie Mathews bunted him to second, Hank Aaron was intentionally walked, and Joe Adcock hit a double to center field to end the game. Warren Spahn's start on July 2, 1963, was his famous sixteen-inning duel with Juan Marichal (who got a game score of 112). Two strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings is nuts.

Highest Game Score by a Losing Pitcher, 1956-2008
(Games with nine innings or less)
  • Ken Johnson - 92 - 4/23/1964 - 9.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K

  • Kevin Appier - 91 - 7/27/1993 - 9.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K

  • Bob Sebra - 90 - 7/1/1987 - 9.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 14 K

  • Sam McDowell - 89 - 7/6/1968 - 9.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 14 K

  • Fernando Valenzuela - 88 - 4/28/1985 - 9.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K

  • Rudy May - 87 - 69/1973 - 9.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
    Floyd Youmans - 87 - 9/27/1986 - 9.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 BB, 15 K
    Pedro Martinez - 87 - 5/6/2000 - 9.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 17 K

  • Jim Bouton - 86 - 9/16/1966 - 9.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
    Andy Hassler - 86 - 9/8/1974 - 9.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
    Bill Singer - 86 - 5/31/1975 - 9.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
    Pete Smith - 86 - 4/15/1989 - 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K

  • Jim Nash - 85 - 7/23/1967 - 9.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 12 K
    Bill Singer - 85 - 6/12/1969 - 9.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K
    Vida Blue - 85 - 8/24/1971 - 9.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
    Fred Norman - 85 - 5/7/1974 - 9.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K
    Randy Johnson - 85 - 6/25/1999 - 9.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 14 K
    Jon Lieber - 85 - 5/29/2000 - 8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K
Jon Lieber and Pete Smith are the only guys on that list who didn't go nine innings in their starts. In Smith's case, it was because the game was over when his team didn't score in the top of the ninth. Lieber was pulled after throwing 116 pitches over his eight innings.

Bill Singer was pretty unlucky. He appeared once on the extra-innings list and twice on the regular game list. Of course, he managed to win 20 games in 1969 and 1973, two of the years he appeared on these lists, so I guess he wasn't hurt too badly.

Since the most recent game in the lists above took place in 2000, I looked up the highest game score by a losing pitcher during the 2008 season. On July 20, Scott Baker of the Twins gave up one run on two hits over eight innings. He walked one and struck out eight for a game score of 81.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was at that Marichal game in 1969.The Mets didn't hit a ball hard off him until Agee's homer.

Gerry said...

It may be that Joe Harris put up the best game score ever for a losing pitcher. On 1 September 1906 he pitched 24 innings (sic) and struck out 14 batters while allowing 4 runs on 16 hits and 2 walks. He lost, 4-1 (to Jack Coombs, who also pitched 24 innings). If all 4 of those runs were earned, Harris posted a game score of 126.

Gerry

Gerry said...

In case anyone is still here, James Shields has put up a Game Score of 94 while taking the loss for the Rays against the Orioles, 2 October 2012. 9 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 15 K.