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Unearned runs question/ comment


mrwheby1

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So, last night's got me thinking, perhaps this rule should be tweaked. When Mussina gave all of those runs in the first inning, the runners that came to the plate after the error should be charged to the pitcher. I understand that the inning would have ended had Jeter not mistaken the first baseman for Yao Ming, but a pitcher should be responsible for eventually getting an out regardless of defensive positioning. What do you think?

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So, last night's got me thinking, perhaps this rule should be tweaked. When Mussina gave all of those runs in the first inning, the runners that came to the plate after the error should be charged to the pitcher. I understand that the inning would have ended had Jeter not mistaken the first baseman for Yao Ming, but a pitcher should be responsible for eventually getting an out regardless of defensive positioning. What do you think?

Honestly, I think they should get charged for any run up to what would have been the third out of the inning. Wouldn't have helped last night (I don't think; the Jeter play would have been the last out, right?), but if a guy make an error on what would be the first or second out of an inning, and guys score before what would have been the third out, that should go on the pitcher, as they would have scored anyway.

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Honestly, I think they should get charged for any run up to what would have been the third out of the inning. Wouldn't have helped last night (I don't think; the Jeter play would have been the last out, right?), but if a guy make an error on what would be the first or second out of an inning, and guys score before what would have been the third out, that should go on the pitcher, as they would have scored anyway.

I've always been under the impression that is how it worked.

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So, last night's got me thinking, perhaps this rule should be tweaked. When Mussina gave all of those runs in the first inning, the runners that came to the plate after the error should be charged to the pitcher. I understand that the inning would have ended had Jeter not mistaken the first baseman for Yao Ming, but a pitcher should be responsible for eventually getting an out regardless of defensive positioning. What do you think?

The distinctions between earned and unearned runs is subjective, rather arbitrary and does a pretty poor job of what it claims to do. RA is a better measure than ERA.

I realize the earned run rules were set up for convenience, but it's odd that you could put Prince Fielder at short and charge the pitcher with 18 earned runs per nine, while Ozzie Smith throws a ball into the stands with two out and the bases loaded and the pitcher is completely without blame.

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On the surface, the idea of "Unearned" vs. "Earned" runs seems fair... just like the basic idea of Errors makes sense at first. After all, who wants things to be unfair?

However, the closer you look at how all this works, the goofier it is, IMO. The rulings are subjective, arbitrary, and made by an "Official Scorer" who is just some local sportswriter. Lots of things don't count that should count, lots of things do count that shouldn't, some guys are unfairly discriminated against based on their style of play, while others guys get advantages they shouldn't based on their style of play, and the decisions are all made by some non-baseball-person up in the pressbox. All in all, I think it's a mess. Fortunately, it only messes up stats-about-the-game; it has zero bearing on the game itself.

I would prefer they leave it all to be decided by how things play out down on the field, not up in the pressbox, and just count whatever happens. It certainly won't be any less-fair that way, and it might be more-fair. If nothing else, it would result in the actual play on the field determining things, not some guy up in the pressbox who has nothing to do with actual baseball deciding what counts and what doesn't. I think it would be an improvement to just let it all count. That won't ever happen, but I wish it would.

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In his Win Shares book, Bill James makes the same point you do. For his purposes, he decided to treat unearned runs as if they were still 50% the pitcher's fault. I don't think that percentage was the result of any detailed analysis, just his back of the envelope estimate.

Certainly Tuesday night was an extreme example.

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