Pitcher responsible for scored runs


(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Rules for determining winning and losing pitcher are covered in section 10.17 of the scoring rules.

Winning Pitcher

When a pitcher throws a complete game and his team wins, he is obviously the winning pitcher. If he leaves after 7 innings with a big lead that his team holds on to, it is also easy to tell he is the winning pitcher. But there are many situations where it’s not clear on who the winning pitcher is. I will cover these points below.

Starting Pitcher

If the pitcher was the starter, he can get credit for the win if the following conditions are met:

1. He pitches at least 5 innings (*). (This is why often when pitchers start to struggle in the 5th, their managers are reluctant to pull them if they are winning and try to squeeze another out or two out of them. Managerial decisions should never be based on impact to a player’s stats, but I’ll rant about that later – probably moreso in relation to the save...

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In baseball statistics, earned run average (ERA) is the mean of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched (i.e. the traditional length of a game). It is determined by dividing the number of earned runs allowed by the number of innings pitched and multiplying by nine. Runs resulting from defensive errors (including pitchers' defensive errors) are recorded as unearned runs and omitted from ERA calculations.


Henry Chadwick is credited with devising the statistic, which caught on as a measure of pitching effectiveness after relief pitching came into vogue in the 1900s. Prior to 1900 – and, in fact, for many years afterward – pitchers were routinely expected to pitch a complete game, and their win-loss record was considered sufficient in determining their effectiveness.

After pitchers like James Otis Crandall and Charley Hall made names for themselves as relief specialists, gauging a pitcher's effectiveness became more difficult...

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cwevent is a command-line tool which extracts detailed information about individual events (plays) in the data file. These are grouped into two categories. There are 97 fields which are compatible with the Retrosheet BEVENT event descriptor tool. These are specified using the -f command-line flag. In addition, cwevent offers a number “extended” fields which expand upon or give more detailed information not easily accessed via the standard fields. These are are specified using the -x command-line flag.

cwevent guarantees that the standard field numbers will match those used by BEVENT. Standard field numbers therefore can be treated as stable, and it should be safe to write scripts referring to them. Extended fields are provisional, and extended fields may be added or withdrawn in future versions. Extended fields are assigned numbers to maintain a logical cohesion, with related fields being grouped. Therefore, extended field numbers are not promised to be stable. It is...

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In baseball, an earned run is any run for which the pitcher is held accountable (i.e., the run scored as a result of normal pitching, and not due to a fielding error or a passed ball). Any runner(s) who tags his base and reaches home plate is scored against the pitcher as an earned run(s). An error made by the pitcher in fielding at his position is counted the same as an error by any other player.

Earned runs are specially denoted because of their use in calculating a pitcher's earned run average – the number of earned runs allowed per 9 innings (regulation game) pitched. Earned runs proceed from the theory that the pitcher has sole responsibility to earn strikes against opposing batter(s) until at least three batters are retired in each inning of play, and nine innings (a complete game) are pitched.

To determine whether a run is earned, the official scorer must reconstruct the inning as it would have occurred without the errors (for purposes of this rule, the...

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All games must start on the scheduled date (local time) for bets to have action. If a game has been postponed or cancelled before its due start time then all bets are deemed no action.

Non-MLB Baseball (including Minor League Baseball) - No listed pitchers and all bets are action regardless of who pitches for each team....

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A view of the playing field at old Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri

Baseball is a team sport popular in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and East Asia. The modern game was developed in the United States from early bat-and-ball games played in Britain and is known as the "national pastime" of the United States, although American football may arguably draw more fans and television viewership.

Baseball is a rare sport in which there is no time limit for play and the defensive side controls the ball. The game also involves a unique combination of individual competitiveness between pitcher and batter and total strategic involvement of the team when the ball is put in play. When played on a high level, baseball involves many subtle adjustments on defense, often depending on the presence of base runners; specialized pitches that vary in movement and velocity; arcane signals; and the execution of precise offensive plays for strategic objectives.


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Since one of the primary measurements of a softball pitcher's effectiveness is her ERA (earned run average), a coach should make certain that both earned and unearned runs in a game are counted fairly.

We have seen all too often, that the official scorekeeper for a game might have a tendency to make mistakes in scoring…giving a hit when it should have been scored as an error (or vice-versa), giving the benefit to the home team's batter or pitcher, etc.

To make it even more unfair for pitchers, often the scorekeeper does not fully understand the rules for scoring an earned run. We feel that in a majority of the situations the person keeping the official scorebook for the game looks only at how the run-scorer had initially gotten on base to determine whether or not the scored run was earned or unearned. As you will see below, scoring rules generally require that the...

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I’ve been reading up on earned run rules and came across a strange situation.

Can a substitute pitcher face one batter who hits a home run, and have no errors committed, without that pitcher being charged with an earned run? Surprisingly to me, the answer is ‘yes.’ Here’s the sequence of an entire inning:

Pitcher 1 starts the inning. Batter A singles. Pitcher 2 replaces Pitcher 1. Batter B singles, and A is forced at second. Pitcher 3 replaces Pitcher 2. Batter C homers, scoring B & C. Pitcher 4 replaces Pitcher 3. Batter D strikes out. Batter E strikes out. Batter F strikes out.

One earned run is charged to Pitcher 1, one earned run is charged to Pitcher 2, and no earned runs are charged to Pitcher 3!

Pitcher 1 is responsible for one runner when he leaves the game. Because A is out as the result of a batted ball (as opposed to being caught stealing or picked off), it does not reduce the number of runners for which Pitcher 1 has responsibility....

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No, it is unearned.

Actually, it's an earned run.

Check Rule 10.18a of scoring:

An earned run shall be charged every time a runner reaches home base by the aid of safe hits, sacrifice bunts, a sacrifice fly, stolen bases, putouts, fielder's choices, bases on balls, hit batters, balks or wild pitches (including a wild pitch on third strike which permits a batter to reach first base) before fielding chances have been offered to put out the offensive team. For the purpose of this rule, a defensive interference penalty shall be construed as a fielding chance.
(1) A wild pitch is solely the pitcher's fault, and contributes to an earned run just as a base on balls or a...

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Consider: It is generally agreed that the best baseball game ever pitched came on May 29, 1959, when the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Harvey Haddix was perfect through 12 innings before he gave up a run to the Milwaukee Braves in the bottom of the 13th. (Hank Aaron was on base at the time.) Because the Pirates themselves had scored no runs through 13, Haddix “lost” the game. If I understand Value Add Baseball correctly, his “rating” for that game is worse than that of a starting pitcher who gave up five runs through seven innings while his own team scored nine. That is, plainly, ludicrous.

I called Dave Cameron, the managing editor of FanGraphs (which uses WAR, or Wins Above Replacement, for pitchers). Value Add Baseball is “basically judging the pitcher on what his team scored, and that makes no sense,” he told me.

The concept of praising pitchers for “pitching to the score” is widely reviled in the sabermetric community. “The argument is mostly made in favor of Jack Morris...

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Unearned runs have nothing to do with wins and losses.

The answer to your question depends on when the 5th run was scored.

If the pitcher finishes the 7th inning, and his team scores a run before the relief pitcher enters the game, he gets the win.

If the relief pitcher enters the game before the 5th run is scored, the relief pitcher gets the win. This is the case regadless of how the relief pitcher enters the game. It might be by starting the 8th inning, pinch-hitting in the 7th, or even through a double-switch.

It's all about the "pitcher of record" when the last lead-change takes place.

The win is given to the "pitcher of record" when the winning team takes the lead for the last time.

As wax eagle has pointed out, a starting pitcher cannot get a win unless he pitches 5 complete innings.

Interesting example:

Pitcher A enters the game in the top of the 7th inning with his team winning by 3 Pitcher A gives up 5 earned runs, but...
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In baseball, an earned run is any run that was fully enabled by the offensive team's production in the face of competent play from the defensive team. Conversely, an unearned run is a run that would not have been scored without the aid of an error or a passed ball committed by the defense.

An unearned run counts just as much as any other run for the purpose of determining the score of the game. However, it is "unearned" in that it was, in a sense, "given away" by the defensive team.

Both total runs and earned runs are tabulated as part of a pitcher's statistics. However, earned runs are specially denoted because of their use in calculating a pitcher's earned run average (ERA), the number of earned runs allowed by the pitcher per nine innings pitched (i.e., averaged over a regulation game). Thus, in effect, the pitcher is held personally accountable for earned runs, while the responsibility for unearned runs is shared with the rest of the team.

To determine...

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There is only one really meaningful statistic in Baseball. How many runs did you score? And was it more than the other team? However, Baseball is a game that lends itself to all sorts of hitting, pitching (and to a lesser extent) fielding statistics, and many of these are detailed here, along with the codes that often accompany them.

It should be noted that in Baseball many "percentages" are referred to, but the figures aren't expressed as percentages, but in fact as decimal fractions. That's tradition for you!

Hitting Statistics

Games (G) - The number of games in which the hitter has actually appeared.

At Bats (AB) - The number of times in which the hitter appeared at the plate and made a base hit, reached base on an error, or was out. Plate appearances which led to a "walk" are not counted, at which a batter was hit by a pitch or awarded first base due to interference and nor are "sacrifices" (appearances where he intentionally...

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The Baseball Scorecard - F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions

I've noticed that some questions keep appearing in my e-mail and in the discussion area. So, I've decided to publish them, along with the answers, on this page. It is definitely not an exhaustive resource. In fact, I've barely begun working on it. So, If you have a question that you think belongs here, send it to me. If you have the answer to that question, send it along also. I will be glad to credit you with the submission.

Why is "K" used for a strikeout?
How are earned runs determined?
When does a pitcher get credited with a win, loss, or save?
When is a batter credited with an RBI?
What do you do when a team bats around?

Why is "K" used for a strikeout?

In 1861, Henry Chadwick invented a scoring system which used a series of letter symbols. He selected "K" for "struck out". He explained that "K" was the prominent letter in the word "strike"...

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If you recall, last week, I talked about one approach that we can take for evaluating starting pitcher performance. Today, I’d like to continue on that vein, this time taking a look at relief pitching.

With regards to evaluating both player performance and player talent, relief pitching is one of the least understood aspects of baseball. There are a few factors that lead me to believe this, but the only one I’d like to talk about today is the problem of mid-inning pitching changes.

You’ve probably noticed the ridiculousness of the following situation: A starting pitcher grooves through the first six innings of the game, allowing just one run. However, he loses his control with two outs in the seventh and walks the bases loaded, forcing the manager to call on the bullpen to get the last out. The reliever proceeds to allow a three-run double, followed by the third out.

Of course, in this situation, the starting pitcher is held responsible, and subsequently...

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In baseball and softball, a pitcher's win–loss record (also referred to simply as their record) indicates the number of wins (denoted "W") and losses (denoted "L") they have been credited with. For example, a 20–10 win–loss record would represent 20 wins and 10 losses.

In each game, one pitcher on the winning team is awarded a win (the "winning pitcher") and one pitcher on the losing team is given a loss (the "losing pitcher") in their respective statistics. These pitchers are collectively known as the pitchers of record. The designation of win or loss for a pitcher is known as a decision, and only one pitcher for each team receives a decision. A starting pitcher who does not receive credit for a win or loss is said to have no decision. In certain situations, another pitcher on the winning team who pitched in relief of the winning pitcher can be credited with a save, and holds can be awarded to relief pitchers on both sides, but these are never awarded to the same pitcher...

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Infographic illustrated by Bad Feather

The Year of the Pitcher?

One of the ongoing stories of this baseball season has been a mysterious decline in runs scored. Major League Baseball teams are scoring an average of 4.4 runs per game, the lowest mark since 1992 and a drop of more than 1,000 runs since last year alone. As offense has declined, pitching performances have made headlines. Five pitchers threw no-hitters in 2010, and three of those were perfect games in May and June from Dallas Braden of the A’s, Roy Halladay of the Phillies, and the Tigers’ Armando Galarraga. (Galarraga’s feat was taken away by an umpire’s admitted blown call on what would have been the last out, but we’re choosing to give it to him.) The perfect game is one of the rarest occurrences in sports, and yet the 19th, 20th, and almost the 21st perfect games in baseball history all occurred within 23 days. Because of the single-game performances and the overall scoring drop, sports reporters...

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I'm cross-posting this from Brew Crew Ball because I think it's a useful guide to determining earned and unearned runs in an inning involving errors, fielder's choices, and pitching changes. Since I wrote it for a Brewers blog, you'll have to excuse the pro-Brewers tilt. The earned run totals in the final paragraph are outdated, but the larger point holds true. I also have to thank my dad, who has covered 1800+ games for STATS, LLC, for checking my work.


The fifth inning of last night's game officially took 51 minutes. The Brewers' half included eleven batters and two pitching changes and lasted 25 minutes. The Marlins' half had only one pitching change and ten batters but lasted 26 minutes. Since there were errors, pitching changes, and runs galore in the Brewers' half, it's worth talking about.

One of the most confusing parts of scoring a baseball game is determining...

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