Thursday, May 16, 2013

Verlander's Worst Game Ever?

Tonight's pitching duel between aces Yu Darvish and Justin Velander did not live up to its' advance billing as Darvish was mediocre and Verlander was awful.  So, instead of admiring a masterpiece, Tigers fan discussed on Twitter whether this was Verlander's worst game ever.   Everybody had their own opinion on Verlander's worst game, but this game was certainly among them. 

One way to measure the strength of a game by a pitcher is by Bill James' Game Score metric.  It is computed as follows:
  • Start at 50 points.
  • Add one point for each out recorded.
  • Add two for each inning pitched after the fourth.
  • Add one for each strikeout.
  • Subtract two for each hit.
  • Subtract four for each earned run.
  • Subtract two for each unearned run.
  • Subtract one for each walk

Prior to today's game, Verlander's 2013 game scores ranged from 43 to 80 with an average of 62.  Today, he allowed 8 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in just 2 2/3 innings and ended with a Game Score of 15.  According to Baseball-Reference, that was tied for his worst game score ever.  The others are listed in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Justin Verlander's Worst Game Scores Ever

Date
Opponent
IP
H
R
ER
BB
K
GS
04/13/2006
CLE
2 1/3
7
7
7
1
0
15
09/01/2008
NYY
1 2/3
7
8
5
2
2
15
04/06/2009
@ TOR
3 2/3
8
8
8
2
4
15
05/16/2013
@TEX
2 2/3
6
8
8
2
3
15
Data source: Baseball-Reference

Verlander's worst games ever included seven runs in 2 1/3 innings versus the Indians during his rookie year in 2006.  He failed to get though two innings allowing 8 runs (5 earned) against the Yankees in September, 2008.  He also allowed 8 runs in 3 2/3 innings on opening day in Toronto in 2009.

Verlander was just as bad tonight, but it could have been worse.  Tigers right hander Scott Sanders once had a game score of -15 (Negative 15) in a game in 1998 where he gave up 11 runs on 16 hits in 4 innings. 

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