Ranking Dodgers' top 5 pitching gems

June 15th, 2021

During their existence -- even dating back to their Brooklyn days -- the Dodgers have had no shortages of elite single-game pitching performances. Because of the great amount of good performances, narrowing a list to just five is very difficult. But we’re giving it our best shot, anyway.

Here is our list of the top five single-game pitching performances in Dodgers history.

1) Koufax’s perfect game
Sept. 9, 1965, vs. Cubs

The Dodgers have 23 no-hitters in their history (Brooklyn also tossed three no-hitters prior to 1890, which is when it entered the National League), but is the only player who can say he pitched a perfect game while wearing a Dodgers uniform.

Koufax’s performance was the most dominant, and the Dodgers needed every bit of it. The Dodgers’ offense recorded just one hit in a 1-0 win, magnifying every pitch Koufax threw. He responded in every way, striking out 14 batters.

Koufax’s perfect game received a score of 101, which is one of nine performances to have ever received a game score of more than 100. It was also Koufax’s fourth career no-hitter, which was the record before Nolan Ryan got to five in 1981.

2) Kershaw’s no-hitter
June 18, 2014, vs. Rockies

Koufax still has the only perfect game in franchise history, but came awfully close to getting the second one when he completed his first career no-hitter against the Rockies.

Kershaw struck out 15 Rockies that night, the most strikeouts in a no-hitter in Dodgers history. The performance received a game score of 102, the most by a Dodgers pitcher. As dominant as the no-hitter was, it came one play away from becoming a perfect game.

Hanley Ramirez committed an error in the seventh inning, the only baserunner Kershaw allowed that night. Kershaw has had many historic performances in his tenure with the Dodgers, but none better than June 18, 2014.

3) Fernandomania
April 9, 1981, vs. Astros

Spoiler alert: This is the only performance on this list that isn’t a perfect game or a no-hitter. But perhaps no series of starts were as influential as what accomplished in 1981. And that all started with his dominant Opening Day start.

Jerry Reuss was scheduled to pitch for the Dodgers, but after he was a late scratch, Tommy Lasorda opted to go with Valenzuela against the Astros. After a dominant performance late in the ‘80 season, Valenzuela carried it over, taking his legend to another level with a shutout on Opening Day.

Valenzuela started the season with an 8-0 record, and Fernandomania was born.

4) Hideo at Coors
Sept. 17, 1996, at Rockies

isn’t the only Dodgers pitcher to throw a no-hitter, but he’s the only one to accomplish it at hitter-friendly Coors Field in Colorado. In fact, Nomo is the only pitcher to accomplish the feat in the history of that ballpark.

After a rain delay, Nomo didn’t miss a beat. He threw 110 pitches, most of which kept the Rockies from lifting the ball into the thin Denver air. Nomo finished the 1996 season with a 16-11 record and a 3.19 ERA.

5) Rucker’s no-no
Sept. 5, 1908, vs. Boston Doves

While Kershaw and Koufax have their fair share of accomplishments and are widely considered the two best left-handers in franchise history, it was Nap Rucker who completed the first no-hitter by a lefty in Dodgers history.