The most dominant pitching performance in Cubs history is easy to identify. Last week, Kerry Wood was at Wrigley Field to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his 20-strikeout one-hitter against the Astros on May 6, 1998.
Now that a week has passed, let’s look at the White Sox. What was the most dominant pitching performance in Sox history,according to the game-score metric?
If you keep the discussion to nine-inning games, the answer is Gary Peters, who had a 13-strikeout one-hitter with no walks to beat the Orioles 4-0 on July 5, 1963. The outing earned a 98 game score.
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Wood’s 105 game score was the highest in major-league history for a nine-inning game. There have been higher scores in extra-inning games because points for outs recorded and innings completed are part of the metric.
That includes the top 14 White Sox game scores, topped by Ed Walsh’s 117 as he scattered six hits with 10 strikeouts and three walks over 16 innings in a 0-0 tie with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1910.
Peters allowed fewer hits and stuck out more batters, important parts of the game score metric.
Here’s how his 98 score breaks down:
— Every starting pitcher begins with a base of 50 points. After that, scores rise and fall with the events of the game.
— Add one point for each out recorded. For a nine-inning complete game, Peters picked up 27 points.
— Add two points for each inning completed after the fourth. Those last five innings give Peters 10 points.
— Add one point for each strikeout. Peters had 13.
— Deduct two points for each hit allowed. The lone hit, a third-inning single by opposing pitcher Robin Roberts, cost Peters two points.
— Deduct four points for each earned run, two points for each unearned run, and one point for each walk. Peters lost zero points in those categories.
The starting point, outs, innings and strikeouts total 100 points, and the two-point deduction for the hit leave the total game score at 98.
Using strikeouts as a measure of dominance gives low-hit games pitched by Peters and Wood a chance to outscore no-hitters.
The highest-scoring Sox no-hitter was Philip Humber’s 96 in the 4-0 victory against the Mariners on April 21, 2012. Humber walked no one and struck out nine — the difference between Peters’ 13 strikeouts and Humber’s nine gave Peters the game-score edge.
Peters was no one-hit wonder. He was a solid 14-year pitcher with a 124-103 record and 3.25 ERA, including a 91-78 mark (2.92 ERA) with the White Sox.
He also was a good-hitting pitcher with a .222 batting average, 19 home runs and 102 RBI in 875 plate appearances. In 75 career pinch-hitting appearances, Peters hit .235 with a .764 OPS, four homers and 13 RBI.
In the game against the Orioles, Peters had a single and a double in four at-bats, though they did not figure in the scoring. In the most dominant nine-inning pitching performance in Sox history, the pitcher had more hits than the opposing team.