Earlier this week we mentioned that James Shields’ start against the Orioles was the best pitching performance in Rays history. The start, in which he allowed just 2 hits and struck out 15 with no walks, registered a 94 on the Game Score meter (Game Score measures an overall pitching performance).

It was just the 12th start in Rays history in which a pitcher registered a Game Score of 90 or better. On the next few pages we will take a look at the top nine performances of all time. See if you can spot the pattern *cough James Shields cough*…

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  1. Beth says:

    Really interesting that none of these are from the staff's ace, David Price.

    What do you think accounts for that?

    My observation this year, which has been a terrific one for Price, is that he will give you 7 - 8 innings of 5 hit baseball every 5 days. At the end of the season that gives you outstanding numbers, but one seldom sees that single dominant game.

    • Slacker775 says:

      Price may not have any just yet, but I don't see any from Shields in his earlier days either. Price does have some pretty dominant outings but not quite that dominant just yet. If he keeps on the upswing he ought to put something together.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Price's problem so far is a lack of endurance. Shields has proven to be durable, throwing 200+ innings every year and racking up lots of complete games. Price only has 2 complete games in his career.

      And up until this year Price has really struggled past the 7th inning. This year he was actually pretty good, but Maddon was much more judicious in how often it happened, with Price going into the 8th inning just 8 times.

      Endurance is a common problem among power pitchers in particular. Once he figures out that part, he'll have a few of these.

  2. Chris says:

    Nice piece of work. Thanks, Cork.

  3. Cork Gaines says:

    To clarify, in Game Score, obviously innings pitched and strikeouts are good. Hits, walks, and runs are bad. And you can go over 100. Since the mound was lowered in 1968, there have been 8 games with a Game Score of 100 or better in which the pitcher pitched no more than 9 innings and 3 were by Nolan Ryan. The highest was Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game. He allowed just 1 hit and no runs or walks. His Game Score was 105. There have been higher Game Scores in history. But those typically are for pitchers that worked 12+ innings in a game, something that never happens anymore.

  4. Sledge says:

    Surely the 1999 game for Rupe against the Angels was a misprint and we won. How do you lose a game 4-0 giving up 1 hit, no walks, and no earned runs?

    I agree - this is great work. Makes you re-think all the "trade Shields" thoughts.

    • KT says:

      Angels scored in extra innings?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      I did a double-take also, because I dont remember the game. But the game was still 0-0 after 9 innings. It was just Rupe's 4th career start. But in the 10th inning, Roberto Hernandez came in and gave up 4 runs. Hard-luck game.

  5. Steve says:

    Ah yes, Ryan Rupe. I had high hopes for him back in the day

  6. David says:

    Youo guys are blaming Price for the endurance and lack of complete games... it is not his fault, it is the coaches and sabrenetrics and the way they limit pitchers innnings.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Price could go 8-9 most nights, but they always look at that mythical 100 pitch number like it really matters for some reason.

    The thing that is his fault is he tends to throw more pitches sometimes instead of pitching to contact, but that is the nature of a hard throwing lefty usually... looking for the K

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Nobody is blaming Price. But it doesn't matter how you look at it. Prior to this season, Price was horrible late in games. In 2011, hitters hit .302 against price in the 8th inning. And here are the batting averages by the number of times a batter faced Price in the game (in 2011).

      First time a batter faced Price in a game: .201 average
      2nd time: .212 average
      3rd time: .275 average
      4th time: .303 average

      In his career, hitters have hit .283 off of Andy Sonnanstine. So basically, by the 6th inning in 2011, David Price was no better than Andy Sonnanstine. And that is why Maddon wouldn't let him complete games. As he matures, that will change.

  7. Dave L says:

    I know this is based on stats and completing games...but I would put Shields only franchise WS partial shutout win and Moore's partial shutout playoff performance in the top ten over great regular season performances.

    But thats just my personal preference.


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