Bradley’s Buzz: Spencer Strider strides into Braves’ history

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Greg Maddux made 740 major-league starts, 363 of them as a Brave. Only once – on May 2, 2001, against Montreal – did he manage a game score better than 94. He hit 98 that night at Turner Field, going nine innings, allowing no runs and two hits, striking out 14 while walking none.

John Smoltz made 466 starts as a Brave. His best game score was 93. Tom Glavine made 682 MLB starts, 518 as a Brave. His best score game was 90. All three former Braves were first-ballot Hall of Famers.

In the 17th start of his career, Spencer Strider worked eight innings against Colorado on Thursday, striking out 16, walking none, yielding two hits. His game score was 96. It’s the best game score of the 2022 season.

Game score is a Bill James creation. It’s a formula. Sandy Koufax’s 1965 perfect game drew a game score of 101, though only retroactively. It’d be a few decades before James thought it up. Randy Johnson’s perfect game at Turner Field scored 100. The highest game score over a nine-inning game came in 1998, when Kerry Wood struck out 20 and yielded one hit; that was a 105.

In seeking an apt comparison for Strider, manager Brian Snitker mentioned Tom Seaver. We checked the game scores for two famous Seaver starts as a Met. In the imperfect game against the Cubs in 1969 – Jim Qualls singled with one out in the ninth to break up a perfecto – Seaver’s game score was 96. In his 19-strikeout performance against San Diego the next year, his game score was 96.

Strider’s 16 strikeouts set a franchise record for a nine-inning game. In the club’s Milwaukee days, Warren Spahn struck out 18 in a 15-inning game.

Forget, at least for a minute, the NL East chase. The hottest race in baseball is for NL rookie of the year. Michael Harris leads the league in WAR for a position player at 3.8. Strider leads in WAR for a pitcher with 3.5.

We note again: Strider was the 126th player drafted in 2021.

***

About Tom Brady

He was the 199th player drafted in 2000. He just returned from an 11-day break taken during training camp, which seemed unusual at the time and has grown more mysterious. He has referred to his issues as “personal.” Page Six of the New York Post reports that he and his famous wife, Gisele Bundchen, “are in a fight right now.”

Bucs fans cheered when Brady unretired. The news apparently went over less swimmingly in-house. “I’m 45 years old, man,” Brady told reporters this week. “There’s a lot of (stuff) going on.”

Gisele is reported to be in Costa Rica. It’s thought Brady traveled there over those 11 days. He posted Instagram footage of him driving his children to school in Tampa on Monday. (Can’t be a style influencer without the ‘Gram!) But the biggest question re: TB12 has to do with … well, his face.

Those famous cheekbones seem more pronounced. Some on the internet wondered if he has had work done. (Others wondered if his hiatus was due to an appearance on “The Masked Singer,” which Brady denied.) Whatever the case, the GOAT appears a bit deflated.

***

More about the NL East

Full credit to the Mets: They took two of three from the Dodgers. The series in Queens was labeled a playoff preview, which it mightn’t be. The Braves could beat either or both. But if you’d told me the Braves would go 58-24 since June 1, I’d have guessed they’d be in first place. They aren’t. Over the years, the Mets have proved they can mess up anything. They haven’t yet messed up the 2022 season.

***

About college football’s first full weekend

Don’t sleep on the Georgia State Panthers, a 12.5-point underdog against South Carolina. There’s thought the Gamecocks might make noise in the SEC East, but it wasn’t long again – in 2019, to be exact – that GSU opened by going to Knoxville and beating Tennessee. (Granted, Jeremy Pruit was coaching the Vols then.)