Did Jordan Zimmermann throw the best start in Nationals history?

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 8:  Jordan Zimmermann #27 of the Washington Nationals pitches during the second inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park June 8, 2014 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

At the end of May, Jordan Zimmermann found himself adrift. The league hit .342 against him over five May starts, and he punched up a 5.06 ERA. His slider, a dagger of a pitch, lacked its typical downward bite. He insisted his stuff wasn’t off, that he didn’t feel any need for overhaul.

Zimmermann has turned any worry about his performance into a quaint relic. He has thrown 17 scoreless innings in June. Sunday, he fired a 12-strikeout, two-hit shutout at the Padres. How is this for improvement: By one objective measure, it stands as the best start in Nationals history.

Bill James’s Game Score offers a way to compare starts. It cannot account for breathtaking dominance, and so Stephen Strasburg’s 14-strikeout debut does not rank among the Nationals’ best. Here’s how it works:

-Start with 50 points

-Add one point per out

-Add two points per inning completed inning after the fourth

-Add one point per strikeout

-Subtract two points per hit

-Subtract four points per earned run

-Subtract two points per unearned run

-Subtract one point per walk

Zimmermann’s masterpiece adds up to 95 — the best this season in the majors and the best in Nationals’ brief history. John Patterson had held the mark since August 2005. And now they’re chasing Zimmermann.

Here is a fun list — the top 16 Game Scores in Nationals history. Incredibly, two of the games on this were thrown this weekend, which may be a testament to that Padres offense. The list also proves something pitching coach Steve McCatty said about Zimmermann: “When he’s on, he’s really on.”

1. 95 — Jordan Zimmermann, June 8, 2014, Padres: 9 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 12 K, 0 ER,

2. 92 – John Patterson, Aug. 14, 2005, Dodgers: 9 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 13 K, 0 ER

3(t). 91 — Gio Gonzalez, Sept. 9, 2013, Mets: 9 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 0 ER

3(t). 91 — Jordan Zimmermann, Sept. 20, 2013: 9 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 0 ER

5(t). 88 – Pedro Astacio, Aug. 15, 2006, Braves: 9 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 ER

5(t). 88 – Jordan Zimmermann, April 26, 2013, Reds: 9 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 0 ER

5 (t). 88 — Stephen Strasburg, Aug. 15, 2013, Phillies: 9 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 10 K, 0 ER

5(t). 88 — Tanner Roark, April 26, 2014, Padres: 9 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 0 ER

9(t). 87 – Edwin Jackson, April 14, 2012, Reds: 9 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 1 HBP, 1 ER

9(t). 87 – Livan Hernandez, June 15, 2011, Cardinals: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K, 0 ER

9(t). 87 — Tanner Roark, June 6, 2014, Padres: 8 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 11 K

12(t). 84 – John Patterson, April 15, 2005 Marlins: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 13 K, 1 ER

12(t). 84 – Jason Marquis, April 29, 2011, Giants: 9 IP, 5H, 0 BB, 7 K, 0 ER

14(t). 83 – Jason Bergmann, May 14, 2007, Braves: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 10 K, 1 ER

14(t). 83 – John Patterson, Sept. 16, 2005, Padres: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 ER

16(t). 82 – Gio Gonzalez, Aug. 31, 2012, Cardinals: 9 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 8 K, 0 ER

16 (t.) 82 – John Patterson, July 19, 2005, Rockies: 8 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 0 ER

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