2000 Roger Clemons Game 2 Yankees 6 Mets 5 Game Score 87
2001 Randy Johnson Game 2 Ari 4 Yanks 0 Game Score 91
2002 John Lackey Game 7 Angels 4 SF 1 Game Score 58
2003 Josh Beckett Game 6 Marlins 2 Yanks 0 Game Score 84
2004 Pedro Martinez Game 3 Red Sox 4 Cards 1 Game Score 75
2005 Freddy Garcia Game 4 White Sox 1 Astros 0 Game Score 73
2006 Chris Carpenter Game 3 Cards 5 Det 0 Game Score 82
2007 Josh Beckett Game 1 Red Sox 13 Rockies 1 Game Score 69
2008 Cole Hamels Game 2 Phils 3 Tampa Bay 2 Game Score 62
2009 Cliff Lee Game 1 Phils 6 Yanks 1 Game Score 83
For those of you who missed part one, I’m going through every World Series and trying to pick the best pitched game. One thing I should have mentioned before, but it didn’t matter much before now. I’m only looking at starts. Then I let the guys from Bill James Online pick the best pitched World Series game of the decade. Here are comments on the games I selected:
2000 Roger Clemons Game 2 Yankees 6 Mets 5 Clemons pitched 8 scoreless innings with 9 strikeouts, 0 walks and two hits. Jeff Nelson and Marino Rivera decided to make it a bit exciting in the 9th. The thing Clemons missed was Mike Piazza with his bat during a first inning ground out. In the long run that was better for Clemons and the Yankees.
2001 Randy Johnson Game 2 Ari 4 Yanks 0 Johnson threw a complete game shutout. You don’t see that much anymore. He had 11 strikeouts, 1 walk and gave up 3 hits. The complete game now seems important the way Arizona’s relief pitcher pitched in the rest of the series.
2002 John Lackey Game 7 Angels 4 SF 1 It was the highest game score of the series, and it came in game 7 leading the Angels to their only World Series title.
2003 Josh Beckett Game 6 Marlins 2 Yanks 0 Everyone said that McKeon was going to rest Beckett until game 7 after pitching effectively and 7.1 innings in game 3 of the World Series. They were worried about his young pitching arm. McKeon said no Beckett was pitching game 6 and he certainly got the right results, a complete game shutout with 9 strikeouts and two walks. The Marlins never lost a postseason series until the Covid season. So many teams made the post season that year, I wonder if it should count.
2004 Pedro Martinez Game 3 Red Sox 4 Cards 1 I could have easily had picked Derek Lowe in game 4. Each threw 7 scoreless innings. Martinez had one more point, but I gave it to him more as a career award.
2005 Freddy Garcia Game 4 White Sox 1 Astros 0 Astros starter Brandon Backe pitched just as well, but Garcia got to really party that night and ended up as the winning pitcher in the clenching victory.
2006 Chris Carpenter Game 3 Cards 5 Det 0 Carpenter pitched 8 scoreless innings with 6 strikeouts and zero walks. He gave up 3 hits. At this time, it seems if the pitcher was outstanding, the manager tried to get him through 8 and then go to the relief ace if close. Carpenter threw only 82 pitches in the game, the same as his game score.
2007 Josh Beckett Game 1 Red Sox 13 Rockies 1 Beckett was not as spectacular as game 6 of the 2003 World Series, but he had the highest game score of this World Series. He did have 9 strikeouts in giving up 1 run in seven innings. The Red Sox scored 29 runs in 4 games. The Rockies had 29 hits in 4 games.
2008 Cole Hamels Game 2 Phils 3 Tampa Bay 2 A lot of solid starts, no great ones. Hamel’s game score was the highest of the series and he also pitched well in the game 5 clencher.
2009 Cliff Lee Game 1 Phils 6 Yanks 1 Lee was pitching great during the postseason and this game continued that trend. He had a complete game giving up 1 run, no walks. He had 10 strikeouts. He didn’t pitch nearly as well in game 5 but was credited with the Phillies only other victory during the World Series.
Not as many voters, but Randy Johnson had an easy win. To me the 2001 World Series discussions were kind of strange. Everyone was talking about Curt Shilling making three starts that everyone forgot about Randy Johnson who pitched great in the World Series. I think the writers were all ready to vote for Shilling. He was going to beat Clemon’s and with three great starts he was MVP. Never mind Clemons left with the lead.
However, the whole thing blew up in the writers face when Randy Johnson came into the game and retired all four batters he faced. Then Arizona came back and Johnson got credit for the victory. How can you not give the MVP to a pitcher who had 3 victories in the series. So somehow they declared it a tie. I don’t know how that happened as I thought there was an odd number of voters.
You can’t pitch much better than Johnson in game 2. He had 11 strikeouts, one walk and gave up 3 hits. This game came after Johnson won his third of four Cy Youngs in a row. The fact that Shilling was close to Shilling in the last two years of that streak, helps Shilling’s Hall of Fame argument to me. However, I would have voted for Randy Johnson as MVP of the 2001 series.