A Baseball Weblog

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Follow-up on Morrow's near no-no

I'm not a huge fan of the Game Score statistic, but it does give a good idea of how well a pitcher pitched. Well, if I'm doing my arithmetic right, Brandon Morrow's game score this afternoon was 100, which is insanely rare. Like, insanely rare. There were only two 100+ game score performances in the 2000s, supplied by Curt Schilling in 2002 and Randy Johnson in 2004. Both had scores of 100. For what it's worth, Kerry Wood has the highest game score for a 9 inning game, set in May of 1998 with his one-hit, no walk, 20 strikeout shutout. The Baseball-Reference Play Index (to which I am not subscribed) says that there are only 8 other 9 inning, 100+ game score games in history. I can guarantee that before long, there'll be a post on the B-Ref blog with more information about the historical implications of Morrow's outing.


  1. Thank you for alerting me to the rarity of Morrow's performance. I do not know how the Game Score statistic is calculated. Do you know? Also, why are you not a fan of that statistic?

  2. Here is the calculation of Game Score, from its Wiki page:

    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.

    It's not my favorite because the weighting of each outcome is pretty arbitrary. There's no distinction between types of hits, as the little groundball single that Morrow allowed was worth as much as a hypothetical triple hit 400 feet. Also, I don't like how walks are only worth -1 point, since an unintentional walk reflects what the pitcher himself was unable to do, while hits allowed tend to have more to do with the quality of the batter than the quality of the pitcher (in most cases; obviously, hanging sliders down the middle tend to get crushed more than pitches on the black). It's not that I think it's that bad of a metric as a way of a gauging an outing, but there's a level of preciseness that it doesn't have.
    Hope that helped.

  3. Is there a metric describing quality of pitching performance that you prefer?

  4. I'd rephrase: even though I have some problems with it, Game Score is a good way of getting a baseline for how a pitcher pitched.