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Old 08-01-2018, 08:20 AM
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About who gets the loss in a baseball game...

Last night, the Cubs lost 5-4. John Lester, Cubs starting pitcher, gave up 4 of the 5 runs. Justin Wilson, reliever, gave up the 5th run - a home run. At that point, the score had been 4-3, and that hit made it 5-3. The Cubs did score one more run in the last inning. So Wilson gave up the run that beat the Cubs. Why doesn't he get the loss?
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Old 08-01-2018, 08:29 AM
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Lester left the game with the Cubs trailing, so he is going to get the loss no matter what UNLESS the Cubs tie or go ahead and THEN fall behind again and lose. In that case, the pitcher giving up the run or runs that caused the loss would get the loss. If the Cubs had gotten their 4th run and tied the game BEFORE Wilson gave up the 5th run, then Wilson would have gotten the loss. The fact is that Lester left the game with the Cubs behind and the Cubs REMAINED BEHIND the rest of the way.
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Old 08-01-2018, 08:32 AM
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Because the Cubs were losing when Lester was pulled. Since the Cubs never tied the game or regained the lead, he takes the loss.

You could conceivably determine the Winning or Losing pitcher on who gave up the ultimately winning run, but that is no more "true" than the current method. Teams play differently depending on whether they are in the lead, tied, or behind. Ultimately, it's arbitrary and this method works.
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Old 08-01-2018, 02:17 PM
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Also, you can't really say that the last run was "the run that beat the Cubs" any more than any of the first four were.

Here's another strange one: if the home team is ahead after eight innings, they bring in a reliever for the ninth, and he gives up the lead, but then the home team wins the game in the bottom of the ninth, the reliever gets the win even though he did nothing to deserve it.
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Old 08-01-2018, 11:24 PM
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Also, you can't really say that the last run was "the run that beat the Cubs" any more than any of the first four were.

Here's another strange one: if the home team is ahead after eight innings, they bring in a reliever for the ninth, and he gives up the lead, but then the home team wins the game in the bottom of the ninth, the reliever gets the win even though he did nothing to deserve it.
Uh, the pitcher who finishes a half-inning got an out somehow. Maybe he just casually tossed the ball and the hitter got a little too much under it to hit it out of the park and it got caught, and so didn't exactly deserve the out, but he did something to cause the last out. Even if the catcher picked off a runner on base, the ball had to get to the catcher first. I suppose they could do a trick play with the pitched secretly giving the ball to a fielder to tag someone who was careless, but I don't think that works in the pros. And in the situation you generally describe, the pitcher likely did something of merit, while I'm stretching the situation to find what the least possible merit might be.
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Old 08-01-2018, 11:31 PM
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Uh, the pitcher who finishes a half-inning got an out somehow. Maybe he just casually tossed the ball and the hitter got a little too much under it to hit it out of the park and it got caught, and so didn't exactly deserve the out, but he did something to cause the last out. Even if the catcher picked off a runner on base, the ball had to get to the catcher first. I suppose they could do a trick play with the pitched secretly giving the ball to a fielder to tag someone who was careless, but I don't think that works in the pros. And in the situation you generally describe, the pitcher likely did something of merit, while I'm stretching the situation to find what the least possible merit might be.
Hidden ball trick in the majors.
First segment is just as you describe.
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Old 08-02-2018, 09:25 AM
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Last night, the Cubs lost 5-4. John Lester, Cubs starting pitcher, gave up 4 of the 5 runs. Justin Wilson, reliever, gave up the 5th run - a home run. At that point, the score had been 4-3, and that hit made it 5-3. The Cubs did score one more run in the last inning. So Wilson gave up the run that beat the Cubs. Why doesn't he get the loss?
So the rule has been mentioned but to be clear;

1. The losing pitcher is the pitcher who gives up a lead that is never relinquished.

2. The winning pitcher is whatever pitcher got the last out before his team takes a lead they never relinquish, UNLESS

2a. That pitcher is the starting pitcher,
2b. Who fails to pitch the minimum number of innings (5, in a full regular season or playoff game,) in which case
2c. The winning pitcher is whatever subsequent pitcher is deemed by the official scorer to have been the most effective.

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Originally Posted by Telemark
Ultimately, it's arbitrary and this method works.
Well, it works for what? At the risk of pointing out the obvious it sometimes does not work.

Smith pitches 8 innings, allowing no runs, and in the top of the ninth inning is relieved by Brown, with a 4-0 lead. Brown loads the bases and gives up a grand slam, tying the game 4-4. In the bottom of the ninth Smith/Brown's team scores a run, winning 5-4. Brown is the winning pitcher. I think anyone will agree that the rule didn't work. Smith deserved the win, not Brown.

The rule for assigning wins was invented in the 19th century, when pitchers were not relieved unless they had been absolutely shelled. In, say, 1896, to pick a random year, 82.4% of all games were complete games. In the few that were not it's because the starter just got the shit kicked out of him; you did not pull a guy who was doing well, so the phenomenon of "vultured" wins was a rare, rare thing.

The rules really doesn't work well today; it's a frequent occurrence that the deserving winning pitcher isn't awarded the win.
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Old 08-02-2018, 09:36 AM
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... it's a frequent occurrence that the deserving winning pitcher isn't awarded the win.
Another version: A few years ago, LaTroy Hawkins, (argh, don't get me started!) a Cubs' reliever, came into a game in the 9th inning for the save. I don't remember the specifics, but the Cubs were ahead by a couple runs I think. He promptly put guys on base and then allowed them to score and tie the game. Blown save. Inning ends, Cubs come to bat and score a run. Hawkins gets the win. WTF?
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Old 08-02-2018, 09:41 AM
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Well, it works for what? At the risk of pointing out the obvious it sometimes does not work.
It works well enough for baseball. Does a pitcher who gives up an unearned run and loses 1-0 deserve the loss? Does a pitcher who gave up 6 runs but his team scores 8 deserve a win? Wins and Losses aren't really a great measure of pitching and that's just the way it goes. It's the same with Saves, they're artificial and arbitrary, but it's what MLB uses.
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Old 08-02-2018, 10:44 AM
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Who cares about wins and losses? I mean, it's an oft-quoted stat, but it's not really a good measure of a pitcher's effectiveness. A pitcher for a team that can't score will lose a lot of games, even if he's reasonably decent; a pitcher for a team that scores bundles might win a fair number of games despite being relatively mediocre.

The situations described here just make it more clear that the stat has a certain amount of lack of meaning.
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Old 08-02-2018, 01:33 PM
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It works well enough for baseball.
But it simply doesn't. We have clearly illustrated circumstances where it is absolutely, undoubtedly a silly rule that doesn't correctly assign the win.

You're right in that wins and losses are heavily affected by a team's run scoring capabilities. But in a game where Bill gave up only 2 runs and lost 2-1, and least he actually was the losing pitcher. In a game where he give up 5, but wins 7-5, at least he was the pitcher who got through most of the game and kept him team in the lead. Those circumstances may be tough losses and cheap wins, but you're giving it to the right guy.
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Old 08-02-2018, 01:55 PM
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But it simply doesn't. We have clearly illustrated circumstances where it is absolutely, undoubtedly a silly rule that doesn't correctly assign the win.

You're right in that wins and losses are heavily affected by a team's run scoring capabilities. But in a game where Bill gave up only 2 runs and lost 2-1, and least he actually was the losing pitcher. In a game where he give up 5, but wins 7-5, at least he was the pitcher who got through most of the game and kept him team in the lead. Those circumstances may be tough losses and cheap wins, but you're giving it to the right guy.
I think that the current rules probably work just fine 98% of the time, but corner cases can lead to the occasional head-scratching or "inappropriate" attribution of a win or loss.

I'd be curious to see if a different approach was able to fix the current weird results, without creating its own new set of odd corner cases.
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Old 08-02-2018, 02:45 PM
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Who cares about wins and losses? I mean, it's an oft-quoted stat, but it's not really a good measure of a pitcher's effectiveness. A pitcher for a team that can't score will lose a lot of games, even if he's reasonably decent; a pitcher for a team that scores bundles might win a fair number of games despite being relatively mediocre.

The situations described here just make it more clear that the stat has a certain amount of lack of meaning.
I agree. ERA is a more reliable measure of a pitcher's worth.
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Old 08-02-2018, 03:38 PM
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I think that the current rules probably work just fine 98% of the time, but corner cases can lead to the occasional head-scratching or "inappropriate" attribution of a win or loss.

I'd be curious to see if a different approach was able to fix the current weird results, without creating its own new set of odd corner cases.
You could always make it the discretion of the official scorer.
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Old 08-02-2018, 03:58 PM
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You could always make it the discretion of the official scorer.
I'm actually really surprised they don't already do this. Every time once of those ponderous "how would you change baseball?" threads pops up, I think about this. If I ran the world, the way wins and losses (and saves, for that matter) were assigned would be much more flexible. There would be some hard-and-fast rules - the guy who goes 8 innings and leaves up 11-0 whose team goes on to win always gets the win, obviously. But in edge cases the official scorer could assign the win or loss just as (s)he awards an error or hit today. So if Jones pitches four no-hit innings as a starter, but leaves after the fourth up 22-0 (he's pitching against the Mets, obviously), he still is eligible for the win.

I really can't see a single reason why this wouldn't be implemented, which of course means it never will be.
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Old 08-02-2018, 04:15 PM
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I'm actually really surprised they don't already do this. Every time once of those ponderous "how would you change baseball?" threads pops up, I think about this. If I ran the world, the way wins and losses (and saves, for that matter) were assigned would be much more flexible. There would be some hard-and-fast rules - the guy who goes 8 innings and leaves up 11-0 whose team goes on to win always gets the win, obviously. But in edge cases the official scorer could assign the win or loss just as (s)he awards an error or hit today. So if Jones pitches four no-hit innings as a starter, but leaves after the fourth up 22-0 (he's pitching against the Mets, obviously), he still is eligible for the win.

I really can't see a single reason why this wouldn't be implemented, which of course means it never will be.
The official scorer does have a little leeway in determining the winning pitcher, as stated in rule 9.17(c):

"The official scorer shall not credit as the winning pitcher a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when at least one succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain its lead. In such a case, the official scorer shall credit as the winning pitcher the succeeding relief pitcher who was most effective, in the judgment of the official scorer."

I'm not sure if I've ever seen this rule actually applied, or perhaps I've seen it just once or twice. Obviously it wouldn't apply for the Latroy Hawkins situation mentioned above, because there was no pitcher who followed Hawkins.
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Old 08-02-2018, 04:43 PM
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But it simply doesn't. We have clearly illustrated circumstances where it is absolutely, undoubtedly a silly rule that doesn't correctly assign the win.
Either there's a rule, or there isn't. You're replacing a rule with a scorer's choice, unless you want to suggest a new rule. Again, I really don't have a problem with doing so, but since Wins and Losses assigned to a pitcher don't really change things I find it hard to get too worked up about it. And you'd have to define correctly, although I admit in the cases mentioned in this thread 99.9% of fans would agree with you. I'm sure there are cases where it's not cut and dry.

Assigning wins and losses to a specific pitcher if fraught with peril from the beginning, since pitchers aren't the only ones that affect whether a team wins or loses. Sometimes baseball works that way, and I really don't have a problem with it. There are lots of things like that; hits awarded instead of an error because a slow fielder never touched a ball he should have caught, Carlos Martinez getting a home run because a fly ball bounced off Jose Canseco's head, hits lost because a game was postponed after 2 innings. I think of it as an amusing part of baseball.
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Old 08-02-2018, 05:12 PM
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I'm not sure if I've ever seen this rule actually applied, or perhaps I've seen it just once or twice. Obviously it wouldn't apply for the Latroy Hawkins situation mentioned above, because there was no pitcher who followed Hawkins.
When i was a youngster, Frank Funk was relief pitcher for the Indians (1960-62). He came in late one game with the bases loaded and promptly gave up a grand slam typing the game. The Indians took the lead in the next half inning, but the win was given to a subsequent pitcher. That's when I first learned of this rule.
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Old 08-03-2018, 08:19 AM
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Either there's a rule, or there isn't. You're replacing a rule with a scorer's choice, unless you want to suggest a new rule.
"If the win would be awarded to a relief pitcher who, upon entering the game, surrendered a lead and then becomes the winning pitcher of record upon his team taking the lead in the subsequent half inning, the Official Scorer shall instead award the win to the starting pitcher, if the starting pitcher left the game with the lead that was surrendered and pitched at least five innings."
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Old 08-03-2018, 09:12 AM
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OK, what if a third pitcher comes in after the game is tied, pitches three innings and ends up getting the win. Should he get the win or would the starting pitcher still get it? Which is correct?
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:36 PM
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OK, what if a third pitcher comes in after the game is tied, pitches three innings and ends up getting the win. Should he get the win or would the starting pitcher still get it? Which is correct?
It seems like the second relief pitcher would get the win. RickJay's amendment wouldn't take effect if the scorer deemed a further relief pitcher worthy of receiving the win.
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:50 PM
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That's why ERA is considered a much more reliable statistic. Even that is not perfect of course. I went to a game the other night in which a pitcher was charged with an undeserved earned run. He pitched one inning, the ninth, in which his team was ahead 7-1. First batter got a hit, went to second on defensive indifference. Two K's later, a second hit scored him and the pitcher was charged with an earned run. The next batter also struck out so he struck out the side, but was charged with the run and, of course, didn't get a save.
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Old 08-07-2018, 05:44 AM
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Going into a 7-1 game is not a save situation. And I'm not sure why you think this should have been an unearned run? Is it because of the defensive indifference?
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:28 AM
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just sayin'

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That's why ERA is considered a much more reliable statistic. Even that is not perfect of course. I went to a game the other night in which a pitcher was charged with an undeserved earned run. He pitched one inning, the ninth, in which his team was ahead 7-1. First batter got a hit, went to second on defensive indifference. Two K's later, a second hit scored him and the pitcher was charged with an earned run. The next batter also struck out so he struck out the side, but was charged with the run and, of course, didn't get a save.
Just to weigh in here again after reading the helpful responses - I don't care how valuable wins or ERA or any of that stuff is to stats guys. That's a different discussion, as are many others that have emerged in the stats era. I am just thinking in terms of fairness or appropriateness when it comes to who "deserves" the win or loss.
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Old 08-07-2018, 10:05 AM
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Going into a 7-1 game is not a save situation. And I'm not sure why you think this should have been an unearned run? Is it because of the defensive indifference?
The DI is a decent argument that the run was not really earned -- very unlikely he scores from first base on a single, and would have been stranded at third on the subsequent strikeout, so the DI made the difference between no runs and one run. Seems logical that if the scorer can make the judgement call that the runner shouldn't get credit for the stolen base, they can factor that into the earned run calculation.
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:11 PM
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Defensive indifference is not an error or misplay.
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:20 PM
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The DI is a decent argument that the run was not really earned -- very unlikely he scores from first base on a single, and would have been stranded at third on the subsequent strikeout, so the DI made the difference between no runs and one run. Seems logical that if the scorer can make the judgement call that the runner shouldn't get credit for the stolen base, they can factor that into the earned run calculation.
Are you going to let the official scorer conclude that the first baseman playing behind the runner fielded a ground ball that he never would have had he been holding the runner on? Do you "penalize" a pitcher with an unearned run because the infield was playing back with a 7-1 lead?
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:20 PM
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Smith pitches 8 innings, allowing no runs, and in the top of the ninth inning is relieved by Brown, with a 4-0 lead. Brown loads the bases and gives up a grand slam, tying the game 4-4. In the bottom of the ninth Smith/Brown's team scores a run, winning 5-4. Brown is the winning pitcher. I think anyone will agree that the rule didn't work. Smith deserved the win, not Brown.
The reason that this whole system win/lose/save doesn't work is that the pitcher gets credit for what his offense did.
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:33 PM
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Just to weigh in here again after reading the helpful responses - I don't care how valuable wins or ERA or any of that stuff is to stats guys. That's a different discussion, as are many others that have emerged in the stats era. I am just thinking in terms of fairness or appropriateness when it comes to who "deserves" the win or loss.
The point being made by everyone is that "win" is never a "fair" stat for a pitcher, regardless of what arbitrary system you use to assign it. This is because of the fact that the stat is actually the combination of a whole bunch of factors, many of which the pitcher is not in control of. That's why people who know better pay little attention to the stat. As has been pointed out, assigning the "win" according to the current system is no more or less fair than assigning it under any other system.
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:34 AM
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Are you going to let the official scorer conclude that the first baseman playing behind the runner fielded a ground ball that he never would have had he been holding the runner on? Do you "penalize" a pitcher with an unearned run because the infield was playing back with a 7-1 lead?
Well, there's no official judgement made in either of these cases. Nor in all kinds of other cases (for instance, tie game bottom 9th, one out runner on third; the outfield will come way way in, so a medium-long fly ball that's an easy out normally will fall for a hit; the batter 'deserved' a sacrifice, not a hit). But there is an officially recorded call in the case of Defensive Indifference (similar to the case of an Error). If you think Defensive Indifference is a stupid thing, and it shouldn't be an official judgement, then that's logical, and if it's not an officially recorded call, then of course you wouldn't use it to calculate ERA. But why is one official judgement (Error) used to calculate ERA, why is the another (DI) ignored?

I'm not necessarily saying I completely agree that this is anything worth worrying about much, but I think there's a good, logical argument for it.
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:45 AM
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Uh, the pitcher who finishes a half-inning got an out somehow. Maybe he just casually tossed the ball and the hitter got a little too much under it to hit it out of the park and it got caught, and so didn't exactly deserve the out, but he did something to cause the last out. Even if the catcher picked off a runner on base, the ball had to get to the catcher first.
Last sentence is not actually true. Several pitchers have gotten the W without throwing a single pitch. (see here for instance : https://www.baseball-reference.com/b...00907070.shtml).

Come in as a reliever, your team behind in the top of the ninth, two out and a runner on. Take the mound, but before your first pitch throw to first and catch the runner. If your team scores the winning runs in the bottom of the ninth, that's a W for you, with zero pitches.

Which is a pretty crazy result, but any system will have some crazy results, and the question is whether there's a system that has less crazy results than the current one, without being more complicated or having many more judgement calls by the scorer.
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Old 08-23-2018, 12:58 AM
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Can the official scorer award the win to the starter if every subsequent pitcher was ineffective. Say home team takes 12-0 lead after four but pitcher leads off the fifth and gets injured. Five subsequent pitchers all pitch one inning and all give up two runs with home team winning 12-10. Must a reliever be credited with the win?
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:29 AM
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Can the official scorer award the win to the starter if every subsequent pitcher was ineffective. Say home team takes 12-0 lead after four but pitcher leads off the fifth and gets injured. Five subsequent pitchers all pitch one inning and all give up two runs with home team winning 12-10. Must a reliever be credited with the win?
In this scenario, the last reliever gets a save, but I see no clear path to awarding a win to any pitcher within the rules. I do not know if the scorekeeper has the latitude to stretch the rules in a case like this.

WINNING AND LOSING PITCHER
10.19
(a) Credit the starting pitcher with a game won only if he has pitched at least five complete innings and his team not only is in the lead when he is replaced but remains in the lead the remainder of the game.
(b) The “must pitch five complete innings” rule in respect to the starting pitcher shall be in effect for all games of six or more innings. In a five inning game, credit the starting pitcher with a game won if he has pitched at least four complete innings and his team not only is in the lead when he is replaced but remains in the lead the remainder of the game.
(c) When the starting pitcher cannot be credited with the victory because of the provisions of 10.19 (a) or (b) and more than one relief pitcher is used, the victory shall be awarded on the following basis:
(1) When, during the tenure of the starting pitcher, the winning team assumes the lead and maintains it to the finish of the game, credit the victory to the relief pitcher judged by the scorer to have been the most effective;
(2) Whenever the score is tied the game becomes a new contest insofar as the winning and losing pitcher is concerned;
(3) Once the opposing team assumes the lead all pitchers who have pitched up to that point are excluded from being credited with the victory except that if the pitcher against whose pitching the opposing team gained the lead continues to pitch until his team regains the lead, which it holds to the finish of the game, that pitcher shall be the winning pitcher;
(4) The winning relief pitcher shall be the one who is the pitcher of record when his team assumes the lead and maintains it to the finish of the game. EXCEPTION: Do not credit a victory to a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when a succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain the lead. In such cases, credit the succeeding relief pitcher with the victory.
(d) When a pitcher is removed for a substitute batter or substitute runner, all runs scored by his team during the inning in which he is removed shall be credited to his benefit in determining the pitcher of record when his team assumes the lead.
(e) Regardless of how many innings the first pitcher has pitched, he shall be charged with the loss of the game if he is replaced when his team is behind in the score, or falls behind because of runs charged to him after he is replaced, and his team thereafter fails either to tie the score or gain the lead.
(f) No pitcher shall be credited with pitching a shutout unless he pitches the complete game, or unless he enters the game with none out before the opposing team has scored in the first inning, puts out the side without a run scoring and pitches all the rest of the game. When two or more pitchers combine to pitch a shutout a notation to that effect should be included in the league’s official pitching records.
(g) In some non championship games (such as the Major League All Star Game) it is provided in advance that each pitcher shall work a stated number of innings, usually two or three. In such games, it is customary to credit the victory to the pitcher of record, whether starter or reliever, when the winning team takes a lead which it maintains to the end of the game, unless such pitcher is knocked out after the winning team has a commanding lead, and the scorer believes a subsequent pitcher is entitled to credit for the victory.
SAVES FOR RELIEF PITCHERS
10.20
Credit a pitcher with a save when he meets all three of the following conditions:
(1) He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his club; and
(2) He is not the winning pitcher; and
(3) He qualifies under one of the following conditions:
(a) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning; or
(b) He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat, or on deck (that is, the potential tying run is either already on base or is one of the first two batsmen he faces); or
(c) He pitches effectively for at least three innings. No more than one save may be credited in each game.

Last edited by CookingWithGas; 08-23-2018 at 10:31 AM.
  #34  
Old 08-23-2018, 04:45 PM
denquixote denquixote is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,590
That's pretty clear. Thanks
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