Was Max Scherzer's no-hitter vs. Mets the most dominant ever?
Looking closer at the detailed statistics, it's hard to fathom any no-hitter being more dominant than this one.
We already know that Max Scherzer of the Nationals threw his second no-hitter of 2015 on Saturday night, striking out 17 Mets in a 2-0 victory at Citi Field. But was Scherzer's the most dominant no-hitter of all time?
Short answer: Probably.
Scherzer's 17 strikeouts tied Nolan Ryan's record for a no-hitter. Furthermore, Scherzer allowed zero walks -- reaching three balls in the count just twice -- and coming within a botched throw, on an otherwise routine play for infielder Yunel Escobar, from a perfect game. Ryan had four walks in his second no-no of 1973, which knocks his game out of the top five, going by game score.
Game score, a creation of Bill James, says that Scherzer's mark of 104 is the best ever in a no-hitter, by two points over Clayton Kershaw's no-hitter from June 2014. A total of 45 other pitchers in history have compiled higher game scores, but 44 of them were earned by throwing between 11 and 26 innings in a single game (and none were no-hitters). The lone comparable exception: Kerry Wood, who scored a 105 by striking out 20 in a one-hitter in 1998.
Game scores are tedious to explain (here's the formula), but this is the gist: The more innings, the more strikeouts, the fewer baserunners (and runs) -- the higher the game score.
|Most Dominant No-Hitters In History|
|Pitcher (Team) -- Date||Opponent||Strikeouts||Walks||Game Score|
|Max Scherzer (WAS) -- 10-3-15||Mets||17||0||104|
|Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- 6-18-14||Rockies||15||0||102|
|Matt Cain (SFG) -- 6-13-12||Astros||14||0||101|
|Nolan Ryan (TEX) -- 5-1-91||Blue Jays||16||2||101|
|Sandy Koufax (LAD) -- 9-9-65||Cubs||14||0||101|
|Source: Baseball Reference.com|
What about hard-hit balls? A hard thing to compare, especially throughout history, but there was just one hard-hit ball by the Mets -- Curtis Granderson hit a head-high line drive to second baseman Dan Uggla to start the fourth inning. Scherzer, being humble after the game, noted Granderson's L-4 could have been a hit easily, that it was just bad luck, and he's right -- but that was the only one. Can't do much better than that.
Take a look for yourself:
The strikeout against Yoenis Cespedes to start the ninth, in particular, just oozed with "You can't touch this."
It's hard to believe (and just as hard to prove) that anybody was better in a no-hitter -- and possibly in any nine-inning game, ever -- than Max Scherzer was against the Mets.
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