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Which Francisco Liriano Start Was More Impressive?

Minnesota Twins' left-hander Francisco Liriano flirted with a second 2011 no-hitter on Sunday afternoon against the defending American League Champion Texas Rangers. He wound up allowing one run on two hits as the Twins went on to a 6-1 victory.

On the surface, today's performance by Liriano was his second-best of the 2011 season, behind the no-hitter he threw against the Chicago White Sox on May 3 at U.S. Cellular Field. But is that the case? Could his near no-hitter actually have been a more impressive performance than his actual no-hitter?

After the jump, we'll take a look at exactly what it is I'm talking about.

The godfather of all baseball stat nerds, Bill James, invented a formula some years ago known as the "Game Score." What the Game Score is meant to measure, in James' own words, was how strong a pitcher was in any particular baseball game. Now, unlike many baseball statistics, Game Score is actually not terribly hard to compute. It's done in the following manner.

  1. Start with 50 points.
  2. Add 1 point for each out recorded, so 3 points for every complete inning pitched.
  3. Add 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th.
  4. Add 1 point for each strikeout.
  5. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed.
  6. Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed.
  7. Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed.
  8. Subtract 1 point for each walk.

Now, when we apply this formula to both of Liriano's top performances from this season. . .his no-hitter against the White Sox and his near no-hitter against the Rangers. . .the Game Score for each comes out to 83.

Against the White Sox, Liriano pitched all nine innings, walking six Chicago hitters and striking out only two, allowing no runs. Against the Rangers, Liriano pitched eight innings, striking out nine Texas Rangers without walking anybody while allowing one run and two hits.

So, given all of that information, which of Liriano's two best starts thus far in 2011 impressed you the most?

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.