Interesting question: where does the performance of two aces -- Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee -- in Game 1 rank in terms of the best World Series openers of the last 20 years?
And yeah, you're damn right we're going to keep reminiscing about the 2010 World Series! (What you prefer with free agency closed and teams other than the Giants playing?)
Big League Stew's Kevin Kaduk took a look at the last 20 World Series Game 1's and ranked them by pitcher performance -- the idea being that in the increasingly colder weather that MLB's finale is played in, the focus on bullpens in the modern era and big, hulking offenses, it's difficult to get great games out of starters in the postseason.
In order to rank these games, Duk used Game Score* from Bill James (via Baseball-Reference.com) and came to the conclusion that the Lincecum/Lee matchup was pretty darn terrible, which shouldn't be that shocking considering the final 11-6 score.
"There was a lot of anticipation for this matchup at this time last year, but the promise was not fulfilled," Kaduk writes. "Lee gave up six runs and didn't make it out of the fourth, while Lincecum gave up four before exiting in the sixth."
Lincecum registered a 38 Game Score while Lee pulled in a 28 GSc, both of which aren't exactly "ace" material, although it's probably worth noting for our sake that the Giants won.
The Giants make another appearance on the list as well, at No. 14, as the matchup between Jason Schmidt and Jarrod Washburn in 2002 produced a Game Score of 88, with both pitchers registering a 44, in a matchup the Giants would ultimately lose.
It's probably worth noting, too, that Lincecum and Lee matched up again later in the 2010 series -- Game 5 -- and combined, mainly thanks to an eight-inning, 10-strikeout effort from Lincecum, for a 139 Game Score.
That would have been good for the third-best game on Kaduk's list, which obviously only includes openers.
So perhaps it's worth including "nerves" when we discuss factors that affect pitchers in the openers for the World Series as well.
*Game score, for those that don't know, was developed by Bill James. You start with 50 points, add three points for each inning pitched, two more points for each inning after the fourth inning, one point for each strikeout, subtract two points for each hit allowed, four points for each earned run allowed, two points for each unearned run allowed and one point for each walk allowed.