Could you imagine dominating for nine innings to not be credited with the win? Well, after his outstanding performance last night, New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey can, and interestingly enough, so can many others. Recognizing the fact that wins can be an erroneous tool to evaluate a pitcher's performance, I have evaluated the top five outings by a pitcher that pitched nine innings or more and did not receive the win.
To evaluate this criteria accurately, I used game score, which evaluates a game based on positive and negative outcomes. It gives a baseline of 50 points and adds and subtracts points based on positive (innings, strike outs, etc) and negative (runs allowed, walks, etc) outcomes.
1.Matt Harvey (Game Score: 97): In last night's game against the Chicago White Sox, Mets phenom Matt Harvey got the no decision despite allowing only one hit and striking out 12 without allowing a walk in nine dominant innings. He took a no-hitter into the seventh before Alex Rios singled.
2.Randy Johnson (Game Score: 97): May 8, 2001: There's no denying that Randy Johnson was a dominant pitcher as even his no-decisions were incredible. In 2001, Johnson pitched nine complete innings, allowing one earned run on three hits while striking out 20. He is one of only four pitchers to reach that strikeout total in a nine-inning game. His team won the game in the 11th inning.
3.Randy Johnson (Game Score: 97): September 16, 1992: In 1992, Johnson had another dominant no decision, allowing one hit and striking out 15 in nine frames. The run that the California Angels scored off of him in the fourth was unearned due to an errant throw by Luis Sojo. This time, Johnson's team let him down as the Mariners lost the game in the 13th inning.
4.Francisco Cordova (Game Score: 95): July 12, 1997: Cordova pitched an incredible game, tossing nine no-hit innings and allowing only two base runners by the way of the walk. He would have gone out for the 10th, but his pitch count was already at 121 pitches. Fortunately, Ricardo Rincon successfully relieved Cordova, not only securing the win in extras, but also keeping the Astros out of the hit column to secure the no-hitter.
5. James Shields (Game Score: 94): October 2, 2012: Last October, Shields pitched an incredible nine-inning game in which he allowed only one run on two hits while striking out 15. Unfortunatley, the one run was the difference in the game, as Orioles pitchers, Miguel Gonzalez, Brian Matusz, Darren O'Day and Jim Johnson kept the Rays off the board.
What is your favorite non-win pitching performance? Comment below.