One pitched nine innings and did not allow a hit. The other faced seven batters and did not record an out.
It is hard to imagine two starts in one night being more different than the ones recorded by James Paxton of the Seattle Mariners and Dylan Bundy of the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday.
Paxton, a 29-year-old from Ladner, British Columbia, became the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter in Canada when he blanked the Toronto Blue Jays, striking out seven and allowing three walks for a 5-0 victory and the third no-hitter of the season.
Bundy, a 25-year-old right-hander, took the hill against the Kansas City Royals and threw 28 pitches to seven batters. By the time Baltimore Manager Buck Showalter came out to pull him for a reliever, Bundy had allowed five hits (four of which were home runs) and two walks, and all seven batters had scored. The Royals would eventually win, 15-7.
By the statistic Game Score, which was developed by Bill James to evaluate the overall performance of a pitcher, and then adjusted some in recent years by the statistician Tom Tango, the disparity between the efforts of the two starters was rather extreme. Paxton recorded a 95 under the Tango method, and Bundy recorded a minus-19. It was nearly as extreme under the James method, with Paxton edging Bundy 91 to 10, which according to Baseball Reference ties Paxton for the season’s fifth-best start and tied Bundy for the 12th-worst.
In truth, it is hard to imagine there being 11 starts worse than Bundy’s, but Baseball Reference credits Matt Moore of the Texas Rangers with the worst start of the year. Just last week, Moore threw four innings, giving up 11 hits and 10 runs (all earned) while striking out one and walking two. That generated a Game Score of minus-1 under the James method. (Tango’s method actually has Bundy’s start as the worst of the season, with that formula generating a score of minus-9 for Moore).
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