It certainly hasn't been a banner year for our pitchers so far, with injuries and ineffectiveness shaking up the starting rotation more than once. Our pitchers have been victimized by absurd numbers of home runs, which has definitely led to frustration and more losses than we'd like. Despite all that, there have been a few bright moments that showed us all glimpses of what our rotation is capable of when they aren't getting run over by the bad luck train.
Game Score, if you aren't already familiar with it, is a sabermetric creation that is used to determine how well a pitcher did in any game. The pitcher starts out with 50 points, and loses one point for every walk issued, two points for every hit allowed, two points for every unearned run, and four points for every earned run. The pitcher is given one point for each out they record, one point for every strike out they record, and two points for every inning they complete after the 4th. This is what I used to find the top performances so far this year, courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
After the jump are the top ten starts of the season so far, according to Game Score:
1. Andy Pettitte vs Cincinnati Reds, Game Score: 82 - Vintage Andy Pettitte came to pitch after a mediocre showing vs the Seattle Mariners in his first start back from retirement. Pettitte threw eight shut-out innings on the way to a 4-0 Yankee win on May 18th. He struck out nine batters, and allowed only four hits.
2. Hiroki Kuroda vs Los Angeles Angels, Game Score: 76 - After giving up four runs in 5.2 innings to the Rays in his Yankee debut, Kuroda opened up the 2012 season at Yankee Stadium with eight scoreless innings against the newly revamped Angels on April 13th. Kuroda allowed five hits and struck out six batters as the Yankees won 5-0.
3. CC Sabathia vs Tampa Bay Rays, Game Score: 73 - The Hefty Lefty got his 5th win of the season after throwing eight innings of two-run (zero earned) ball against the Rays on May 10th. He struck out ten batters in the game, and the Yankees went on to win 5-3.
4. CC Sabathia vs Detroit Tigers, Game Score: 72 - CC gave up two runs in eight innings on April 29th in a game that the Yankees won 6-2, giving Sabathia his 3rd win of the season. CC struck out eight Tigers, and allowed only four hits in the game. The two runs were driven in by Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, which is hardly anything to be very disappointed in.
5. Hiroki Kuroda vs Baltimore Orioles, Game Score: 67 - Kuroda pitched seven innings of one-run ball on April 30th against the O's. He only allowed four hits while striking out three batters to get his second win of 2012 in a game that the Yankees won 2-1. After a disappointing loss in Texas after being out-dueled by Yu Darvish, Kuroda was able to bounce back with one of his better performances so far this year.
6. Phil Hughes vs Seattle Mariners, Game Score: 66 - Phil Hughes pitched his best game to this point in 2012 against the Mariners on May 12th. He struck out four and allowed only one run in 7.2 innings to get his third win of the year. The only run came on a Mike Carp solo shot in the 7th inning, and the Yankees won 6-2.
7. CC Sabathia vs Kansas City Royals, Game Score: 65 - Sabathia allowed two runs on seven hits in eight innings against the Royals, going on to win his fourth game of the season. CC struck out five batters and issued no walks in the game that the Yankees won 6-2.
8. CC Sabathia vs Minnesota Twins, Game Score: 64 - CC struck out seven Twins in 7.1 innings in his first win of the 2012 season on April 17th. The Twins are pretty pathetic this year, but they managed to score three runs off the Yankees' ace in the game on four hits.
9. Ivan Nova vs Tampa Bay Rays, Game Score: 63 - Nova beat James Shields and the Rays on May 8th, giving up two two runs in seven innings while striking out eight batters. In typical 2012 fashion, Nova gave up two home runs to Jose Molina and Luke Scott in the game, but the Yankees won 5-3 thanks to home runs of their own by Curtis Granderson and Raul Ibanez.
10. Andy Pettitte vs Kansas City Royals, Game Score: 62 - Hey, this was recent. Following his strong outing against the Reds, Andy pitched seven innings of two-run ball against the Royals on May 23rd to beat Will Smith in his major league debut. Pettitte struck out eight and walked only one batter in the game. The Yankees went on to win 8-3, thanks in large part to two Alex Rodriguez dingers and an additional dinger, compliments of Curtis Granderson.
It's kind of amazing that Andy Pettitte appears on this list twice, including the top spot, after only making three starts so far in 2012. If he can continue to do at least pretty well, our pitching may end up being alright after all. The fact that CC Sabathia is on this list four times is not surprising, despite also falling into the TOO MANY HOME RUNS trend that has plagued the Yankees' starters this year. Sabathia has managed to give up the least amount of dingers, save Pettitte, so it's not a shock that he has still managed to do fairly well.
Do you agree or disagree with how Game Score has ranked them, or were you surprised? Do you remember any games that you think should have made the top ten? Discuss.