Well baseball fans, here we are. The season has ended, a Champion has been crowned (congrats to the Astros, and Im happy to report there was no usage of any trashcans being banged or whistles being blown) and the lull of the off-season is upon us. If any of you baseball fans are like me, you are sitting in your office, reflecting on your 2021 campaign, and depending on which team you are a fan of, how well or how poor your team did. I like to consider myself a baseball junkie, so naturally as I daydreamed about the season, and how I wished we had more baseball already (Winter League anyone?) I naturally started looking at statistics from the season.
I’m looking at everything you can imagine. Team stats, player stats, average age of the teams from their A teams all the way up to their ML ball clubs. Let me tell you there was a lot of compelling analyses, and I was looking at them all. I looked at hitting WAR plus pitching war minus wins, which is a really crazy stat. You would think a high WAR (Wins Above Replacement) would tally up to some teams having a lot of wins. Which in the case of the Dodgers, was true, however in the Padres instance it was the exact opposite. But that’s not why we are here today, even though I would definitely encourage you all to take a look at that! After looking through all of these numbers and watching them bounce around my head like some sort of mathematician figuring out a large calculation in his head, I had a thought.
That thought was, I wonder who had the best pitching performances from the 2021 season. In a season that seen some very incredible season statistics from some of the best arms in the game (Like Jacob deGrom’s 21-4 2.16-ERA 2.83-FIP, or Trevor Bauer’s ridiculous 18-2 2.46-ERA and 90% winning percentage or maybe you fancy Las Vegas’s Anibal Sanchez’s 19-3 2.18-ERA and 2.76-FIP season numbers?) there were some really great single game pitching performances. Inside this little-known database that isn’t very universally well-known or used by very many people in the baseball world, that database being affectionally referred to as Out Of The Park, or OOTP for short (see what I did there???) it has a really cool feature that keeps track of players actual game score.
I cannot tell you how the game scores are calculated or how are determined, but however that magic is performed, but think of the game scores as grades from back in our school days with a slight twist, meaning a 100 is a really good score, but it doesn’t necessarily equate to a perfect game like a 100 on a test would. You follow? but without further a do here are the top 5 pitching performances from the OMLB’s 2021 season. For suspense, we will start with number 5.
5.) German Marquez(SD)– May 16th, 2021, vs ST Louis 13-0 Game Score: 97
Game Stats: 9.0 IP 2-H 0-R 0-ER 0-BB 7-K
20 Days after the Rockies traded German Marquez to the Padres, German Marquez went off for the 5th best game score of the season. He absolutely shackled the St. Louis and their offense. After the Padres were able to put up 8 runs against Adam Wainwright and chased him from the game after 1.2 IP, Marquez settled in and delivered a fabulous pitching performance at Petco Park. Even though Marquez dazzled with a 2 hitter, it was only 1 man that got those hits off him. That man was Paul Goldschmidt. Could we say if Pauly took this day off, would Marquez have thrown a no-hitter? Well, that’s something we will never know, but this writer likes to think it absolutely would have!
4.) German Marquez (SD)- August 30th, 2021 vs Arizona 7-0 Game Score: 99
Game Stats: 9.0 IP 1-H 0-R 0-ER 1-BB 9-K
German Marquez was able to capture 2 of the top 5 pitching performances of the season but he probably won’t be in the running for the Cy-Young. Mainly because of his first 5 starts of the season as a part of the Colorado Rockies, and their hitter friendly ballpark. (1-QS 1-1 4.84-ERA) but he made up for it quite a bit once he got to the pitcher friendly confines of Petco Park (pitching 18 Quality Starts out of 27 Starts). For the 2nd time this season German was able to flirt with a no hitter. In the bottom half of the 9th inning with one out after getting Andy Young to ground out to shortstop, Stephen Vogt came up and on a 1-0 pitch was finally able to pound a screaming line drive (98.8-EV) for a single. Carson Kelly and Tim Locastro would follow that up with strikeouts number 8 and 9 for Marquez as he finished up his gem of a pitching performance. You could say German Marquez beat them all by himself in this game as well because in the top half of the 5th inning on the first pitch he seen from Alex Young Marquez did his best Joey Gallo impersonation by blasting a solo homerun 370 feet over the left field fence.
3.) Corey Kluber (NYY) – May 2nd, 2021, vs Detroit 16-0 Game Score: 99
Game Stats: 8.2 IP 2-H 0-R 0-ER 1-BB 13-K
This was one of those games for the Yankees, where literally everything went right for them at Yankee Stadium on this night. Kluber pitched himself an incredible game, but unfortunately was pulled 1 out short of a complete game shutout after he walked Robbie Grossman. Nick Nelson was able to come in however and strike out Akil Baddoo on 4 pitches. Kluber was not flirting with a no hitter however, as he gave up a hit to his first hit in the first inning on a double by Nomar Mazara and then a single to that very same man in the 4th. I think I’ve heard this once before already but if Mazara would have been sitting on this day, would Kluber have gotten that no-hitter done? Just like that last one, I absolutely like to think so!
2.) Dylan Cease (CWS) – June 10th, 2021, vs Toronto 1-0 Game Score: 105
Game Stats: 9.0 IP 1-H 0-R 0-ER 0-BB 13-K
What a game by Dylan Cease! The third batter he faced in this game; Ryan McMahon got the lone hit vs the White Sox Righty. After that hit, he settled in and rocked the Jays hitters right to sleep! Retiring 25 consecutive hitters in a row to finish this game Dylan was absolutely masterful in this game. In the final 3 innings of the game Dylan was able to strike out 2 hitters per inning increasing his K total from 7 to 13 really quick. When it was all said and done Ryan Tellez AND Luis Campusano went home with hat tricks, which isn’t a good thing in baseball.
1.) Adrian Morejon (SD) – July 5th, 2021, vs Washington 6-0 Game Score: 106
Game Stats: 9.0 IP 0-H 0-R 0-ER 1-BB 14-K
Adrian Morejon has the honor of pitching the one and only no-hitter in the 2021 season for the San Diego Padres, obviously at home at Petco Park. I think The Nationals might have wished they had Soto on this day because their hitters were just lost all game long. Adrian let his only runner reached base on 4 straight balls to lead of the 5th inning. That didn’t phase him at all as he was able to retire the next 12 hitters in a row as he celebrated his entry into the record books! This 22-year-old not necessarily considered a prospect as he pitched in 5 games and 2 starts in 2019 and 9 games and 4 starts in 2020. He showed what he is capable of and that he has the make up to potentially be the ace of this franchise in the near future.