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Worst World Series Game 1 game scores

Posted by Andy on October 28, 2010

Well it had to happen eventually. Cliff Lee was creamed in Game 1 of the World Series. Here are the worst game scores, all time, in Game 1 of the Fall Classic:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc
1 Woody Williams 2004-10-23 STL BOS L 9-11 GS-3 2.1 8 7 7 3 1 1 70 42 11
2 Hal Newhouser 1945-10-03 DET CHC L 0-9 GS-3 ,L 2.2 8 7 7 1 3 0 16
3 Andy Pettitte 1996-10-20 NYY ATL L 1-12 GS-3 ,L 2.1 6 7 7 1 1 1 54 31 17
4 Jeff Francis 2007-10-24 COL BOS L 1-13 GS-4 ,L 4.0 10 6 6 3 3 1 103 62 18
5 Orel Hershiser 1997-10-18 CLE FLA L 4-7 GS-5 ,L 4.1 6 7 7 4 2 2 83 49 21
6 Eddie Cicotte 1919-10-01 CHW CIN L 1-9 GS-4 ,L 3.2 7 6 6 2 1 0 22
7 Bruce Kison 1979-10-10 PIT BAL L 4-5 GS-1 ,L 0.1 3 5 4 2 0 1 27 11 25
8 Paul Derringer 1940-10-02 CIN DET L 2-7 GS-2 ,L 1.1 5 5 4 1 1 0 26
9 Dennis Leonard 1980-10-14 KCR PHI L 6-7 GS-4 ,L 3.2 6 6 6 1 3 1 71 45 27
10 Don Drysdale 1965-10-06 LAD MIN L 2-8 GS-3 ,L 2.2 7 7 3 1 4 2 27
11 Roger Craig 1959-10-01 LAD CHW L 0-11 GS-3 ,L 2.1 5 5 5 1 1 1 27
12 Guy Bush 1932-09-28 CHC NYY L 6-12 GS-6 ,L 5.1 3 8 8 5 2 1 27
13 Cliff Lee 2010-10-27 TEX SFG L 7-11 GS-5 ,L 4.2 8 7 6 1 7 0 104 69 28
14 Joe Magrane 1987-10-17 STL MIN L 1-10 GS-4 ,L 3.0 4 5 5 4 1 0 59 30 28
15 Whitey Ford 1956-10-03 NYY BRO L 3-6 GS-3 ,L 3.0 6 5 5 0 1 2 28
16 Bob Forsch 1982-10-12 STL MIL L 0-10 GS-6 ,L 5.2 10 6 4 1 1 1 89 58 29
17 Chief Bender 1914-10-09 PHA BSN L 1-7 GS-6 ,L 5.1 8 6 6 2 3 0 29
18 Allie Reynolds 1951-10-04 NYY NYG L 1-5 GS-6 ,L 6.0 8 5 5 7 1 1 30
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/28/2010.

24 Responses to “Worst World Series Game 1 game scores”

  1. DavidRF Says:

    Nine of those 18 teams game back to win by my count.

    "Fun" to see Eddie Cicotte on the list. I guess the gamblers got their money's worth when they paid him off.

  2. John Says:

    Funny that all of them took the loss, except the worst on the list. Tim Wakefield wasn't much better than Williams that night, just missing this list with a 32.

  3. Mark Says:

    At least Lee got the most K's on that list....something positive 🙂

  4. John Says:

    Bob Forsch lost 10-0 to the Brewers in 1982... why do I hear Bo Belinsky protesting, "How do you expect a guy to win if you don't give him any runs!"?

  5. Zack Says:

    Cliff Lee should take some solace in that list. Some big names on there, and at least one great redemption performance: Pettitte threw 8 strong in game 5 against ATL.

    And I just skimmed the list, but to be filed under "keep your chin up, Cliff": those pitchers' teams went 9-8 in those World Serieses.

    Though I prefer Cliff not keep his chin up, personally, as a Giants fan.

  6. Historically speaking, how bad was Cliff Lee last night? | HardballTalk Says:

    [...] has the complete list, with the worst of all time being Woody Williams’ start against the Red Sox in 2004 when he [...]

  7. John Says:

    And thanks, Andy, for this list. Even as a (then long-suffering) Red Sox fan, I'd long suspected that 2004 Game 1 may have been the worst-played Game 1 in World Series history. Between Manny Ramirez's absolutely epic "glove" "work" (and three other errors besides), some shoddy relief pitching, some poor baserunning (IIRC) and now this: statistical evidence that Williams/Wakefield was the worst combined pitching performance ever in a Game 1. (I reran Andy's query: Wakefield's 32 was the 24th-worst Game 1 start ever.)

    For a point of reference: Lincecum threw a merely-48th-worst 38 last night. Lee/Lincecum's combined 66 was Cy-Young-versus-Walter-Johnson, compared to Williams/Wakefield's 43.

  8. Fitter Says:

    Gay Bush

  9. Fitter Says:

    Oh, wait, *Guy* Bush, sorry. That might be even funnier.

  10. Viking Says:

    It's a fascinating game... Lincecum was actually one strike away from a quality start and 57 points, in which he would have finished the 6th and struck out the side doing so. Instead, a walk, three hits and two runs later, he's out of the game and manages only a 38 game score.

  11. John Autin Says:

    @9, Fitter -- If Guy Bush's name amuses you, surely his picture, nickname, and post-MLB career will do likewise.


    Nickname: The Mississippi Mudcat.

    From the B-R Bullpen: "Guy Bush gave up the last home runs of Babe Ruth's career on May 25, 1935. Ruth hit three home runs, the first off Red Lucas and the last two off Bush. He would retire a week later on June 2. He later managed in the [All-American Girls Professional Baseball League]."

    Bush also happened to be a good pitcher, with a lifetime 176-136 record. He had a CG victory in game 3 of the 1929 WS, the only game the Cubs won.

  12. John Autin Says:

    Allie Reynolds (#18 on the list) came into that 1951 game on a WS roll much as Lee did, with a 1.85 WS ERA in 35 IP. He bounced back nicely from the beating, with a CG 6-2 win in Game 4 that evened the Series, en route to the Yanks' 3rd straight title.

    P.S. re: a post in another thread, wondering if Mule Watson (1923) was the worst Game 1 starter:
    Raise your hand if you knew that Dave Koslo hurled a CG, 5-1 win against the Yanks in the 1951 opener. Oh ... I just realized why the Giants didn't have their top pitchers available for the WS opener that year. And wow, I didn't know that the WS started the very next day after Bobby Thomson's pennant-winning HR. Sal Maglie, who went 8 IP in the final game of the playoff (and was probably the NL's best pitcher at that time), didn't make a WS start until game 4

  13. Tmckelv Says:

    The Yankees have 3 bad performances by some good pitchers. They came back to win all 3 of those series.

  14. Fitter Says:


    Ha! Thanks, if I'm ever in Wrigley I'll be sure to wear his jersey.

    His 1930 season is abysmal, led the league in ER and wild pitches.

  15. John Autin Says:

    This is about Game 2, but for lack of a better place to post this....

    Derek Holland has tied a World Series record by walking the only 3 men he faced.

    It was done just once before, by Colorado's Ryan Speier in a 13-1 loss in Game 1 of the 2007 series.

    (I don't know if this was noted by Fox broadcasters. I'm one of those NY-area folks caught up in the Fox/Cablevision contract dispute, so I haven't been able to watch the games.)

    The record for most walks without retiring a batter is 4, by Art Reinhart of the 1926 Cardinals.

    P.S. The Rangers now trail, 9-0, after the Giants scored 7 runs with 2 out off Holland, Mark Lowe and Michael Kirkman. But hey, at least Washington still has Neftali Feliz available if they can get the lead....

  16. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    The 2010 Giants have tied the 1960 Yankees for the most runs scored (20) in the first two games of a World Series. That's a pretty strong indictment of the Texas pitching staff.

  17. John Autin Says:

    @16, Kahuna -- It's certainly an "indictment" of their performance. But how can you indict a staff that ranked 2nd in the AL in ERA+ ? Is Cliff Lee to be indicted for having a rare bad game? Or C.J. Wilson for a fine start that the bullpen butchered?

    The only thing I see worthy of indictment is Ron Washington's bullpen calls. It's incomprehensible that Mark Lowe came into both games before they were blowouts: he began the 8th of Game 1 with an 8-4 deficit and quickly gave up 3 runs, then was asked to douse the flames in Game 2 with the score 3-0 and 2 out, and instead he blew it up. Lowe, who has had a pedestrian career, joined Texas late in the year and pitched all of 3 innings for them (and 13 IP on the year), with lousy results. If not for the injury to Frankie Francisco, I doubt he'd even be on the roster. So what is he doing pitching important innings?

    Washington's first fatal error last night was lifting O'Day after the 2-out single, with the lefty Schierholtz coming up. O'Day had fanned the first 2 batters. The move could only make sense if it gained a significant platoon advantage. But O'Day was quite effective against lefties this year (.229 BA, no HRs, .561 OPS) -- and worse, Schierholtz has a pronounced reverse split in his career line; he's hit just .249 with a .668 OPS against RHPs, but .354 / .890 vs. LHPs. Of course, these facts were mooted by Holland's wildness. The point, though, is -- why take out a reliever who's going well and not overworked, when there's no matchup advantage? I hope it wasn't because Schierholtz had a bloop hit to the opposite field in his only prior faceoff with O'Day, in June 2009.

    Nothing personal against Schierholtz, but a batter of his level should never be the reason for a pitching change.

  18. Larry R. Says:


    Unlike the '60 Yanks, the Giants won both games. Getting 20 runs by 11 & 9 is much better than 4 & 16.

  19. Bill Reynolds Says:

    I think this is a misuse of the very flawed game score statistic. The man struck out 7 batters, walked only 1 (and hit one with a pitch), and allowed 0 home runs in 4 and 1/3 innings. That is good pitching. He was simply unlucky on balls in play -- by my count, of 15 batters who put balls put into play against him, nine reached base (one by error). I bet he comes back strong in game 5 (if there is one).

  20. Johnny Twisto Says:

    And that's a misuse of DIPS, so you're even.

  21. Bill Reynolds Says:

    I suppose I should have been more clear. The game score statistic is simply flawed. Andy didn't misuse it, it is just not that telling about how well someone pitched. Bill James developed game score long before the DIPS revolution -- it focuses too much on hits and runs allowed (especially earned runs) and makes no distinction between home runs and other hits.

    Not sure how I misused DIPS in my comment.

  22. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I'm not sure how it's "flawed," unless you assume it means something it doesn't. It is what it is. It doesn't hold all the answers. It's a number that is supposed to be easily calculated by looking at a pitcher's line in the boxscore.

    It's a misuse of DIPS to assume Lee was "unlucky" because so many batted balls landed safely. From what I saw, many of those were hit hard. If he makes good pitches and balls happen to squeeze between fielders, that might be bad luck for Lee. If he makes bad pitches and gives up line drives, it's poor pitching.

    But if you want a more DIPS-oriented game score, you could try one of these:
    Then others will say how flawed that system is because it identifies a 7 K, 1 BB, 0 HR performance as one of the better Game 1 starts ever.

  23. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    John (#17) — I'm not going to "indict" Cliff Lee for the Game 1 shellacking because it certainly was not a typical performance for him. Still, Lee got that start because he's the staff ace, and he got ripped.

    I agree that Washington has let the first two games get out of hand by going to his back-of-the-bullpen guys way too early. Guys like Lowe and Kirkman have no business pitching in the World Series unless the manager plans to concede the game, as Joe Torre was doing when he brought in Jay Witasick for the Yankees early in 2001 Game 6.

    Washington appears to have four relievers whom he trusts: Oliver, O'Day (only against right-handed hitters), Ogando, and Feliz. So make that three and a half relievers. With this arrangement, he can't play lefty-righty matchups too carefully or he'll run out of good relief pitching. He probably had quite a bit more flexibility when Francisco was available.

  24. steven Says:

    Interesting post. Anybody else notice how most of us bear a strong resemblance to Honus Wagner?