Did Jordan Zimmermann just pitch the best game in Nationals history?

Jordan Zimmerman

Complete game shutouts are rare. So rare, in fact, it’s only been done 8 times by a pitcher wearing a Nationals uniform. That averages out to one per season. So don’t expect another until after the Cicadas are long gone.

Here are the 8 complete game shutouts in Nationals history, dating back to 2005.

John Patterson–August 4, 2005

Pedro Astacio–August 15, 2006

John Lannan–July 21, 2009

Livan Hernandez–April 17, 2010

Jason Marquis–April 29, 2011

Livan Hernandez–June 15, 2011

Gio Gonzalez–August 31, 2012

Jordan Zimmermann–April 26, 2013

But which performance was the most dominant? Jordan Zimmermann allowed only one hit and one walk combined, a distinction shared with Pedro Astacio, who allowed two hits and zero walks in his 2006 shutout (Zimmermann also allowed a runner to reach base via error). Patterson struck out 13 batters in 2005, far more than any other pitching performance on the list (Zimmermann had four). Astacio needed only 89 pitches to record his 27 outs in 2006. Zimmermann needed 91 tonight. Marquis delivered only 96 pitches in his 2011 shutout. Astacio and Hernandez in 2011 faced only 29 batters each in their shutouts; Zimmermann faced 30.

The advanced metrics clearly conclude that Patterson’s performance was the most dominant. Using Wins Probability Added, a metric that calculates a pitcher’s contribution over a replacement player, Patterson’s shutout added .474 “wins” to his team’s season win total. Using Game Score, a metric developed by Bill James to establish the dominance of a particular pitching performance, Patterson also had the most impressive game with a Game Score of 92 (Astacio was the next closest with 88).

However one measures dominance, a critical question emerges. When you allow zero runs over nine innings, does it really matter?


4 thoughts on “Did Jordan Zimmermann just pitch the best game in Nationals history?”

  1. I was fortunate enough to have seats about 20 rows over the Nats dugout last night. Jordan’s stuff was just filthy up close. He was throwing so many strikes, getting tons of first and second pitch outs. When the ball was well-hit, it was hit directly to an outfielder. Last night was the kind of pitching performance that but for a seeing eye single past the pitcher’s mound would have been a classic no hitter.

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