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Rulebook Corner: Who gets the win?

Posted by John Autin on August 7, 2011

In Cincinnati's 8-7 win over the Cubs, reliever Nick Masset was credited as the winning pitcher, according to both MLB and ESPN online. Was that decision correct?

Masset came on in the bottom of the 7th with a 1-run lead, 2 outs and 2 on. The first batter doubled, tying the game. Masset intentionally walked the next man, then let in the tiebreaker on a wild pitch, before recording his only out. The Reds went ahead in their next at-bat. Aroldis Chapman struck out all 3 in the 8th, and Francisco Cordero pitched the 9th for the save.

Rule 10.17(c) states:

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.

Rule 10.17(c) Comment: The official scorer generally should, but is not required to, consider the appearance of a relief pitcher to be ineffective and brief if such relief pitcher pitches less than one inning and allows two or more earned runs to score (even if such runs are charged to a previous pitcher). Rule 10.17(b) Comment provides guidance on choosing the winning pitcher from among several succeeding relief pitchers.

Doesn't Masset's performance clearly meet the standard of "ineffective in a brief appearance"? He got just 1 out, put 2 runners on, and his wild pitch scored the go-ahead run. It fits the Rule 10.17(c) Comment perfectly.

In my opinion, the win must go to Chapman. The integrity of the meaningless relief-win statistics must be upheld!

What do you say?

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 7th, 2011 at 7:39 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

144 Responses to “Rulebook Corner: Who gets the win?”

  1. I certainly don't look up the box scores of every game, but I'm hard-pressed to find a time where a scorer did NOT give a win to the relief pitcher (i.e. Masset in this situation), even when he is ineffective. Has that happened this season? If not, when was the last time?

    I think scorers have just defaulted to giving the win to the pitcher who finished the last inning, even if he was ineffective.

  2. I'd give it to Chapman, but whatever. I'm not the scorer.

    Last Tuesday's Tigers-Rangers game was an interesting case with no clear answer.

    Tigers up 5-2 going into the 8th. Joaquin Benoit comes in and gives up 3 runs on 2 homers to tie it up. Tigers then take the lead in the bottom of the 8th, 6-5. Benoit certainly fit the description from above right? So don't you give the win to the next pitcher? The problem of course is, it's the top of the 9th, and the equally meaningless save stat needs to be given to Valverde. And as far as I know you can't give a win AND a save to the same guy right? So instead we're stuck with Benoit vulturing a win after he completely blew the game.

  3. Yeah. That would definitely count as a "Vulture Win". Many people count those. Certainly the "BW" sticks out in his game log as a bad thing. I mean, its not as bad as a "BL" because his team bailed him out, but its still bad.

  4. He did record an out though.

  5. John Autin Says:

    @2, Tom -- Interesting point about the Tigers game.

    However, there's nothing in the official scoring rules that says a Save should take precedence over a Win; if anything, the Win has implicit precedence. The scorer is instructed to decide who gets the Win, whereas a Save can only be awarded to a non-winning pitcher.

    I think that Benoit got the win in that game because, while he was certainly ineffective, he did pitch a full inning, and the comment says "less than one inning."

  6. JA, are you including the wild pitch as part of his ineffectiveness?

    The manager called for the IBB, so not attributable to Masset. A wild pitch is somewhat subject to scorer's discretion vis-a-vis a pass ball and then he recorded an out.

    So Nick Masset did make a mistake with the double but it would be iffy to wrest the win away from him based on those three batters faced, I think.

  7. groundball Says:

    I've never been a particular fan of the ineffectiveness rule. Partly to avoid to much subjectiveness in stats.

    One thing I am not to clear while we are talking pitcher wins is:

    Ok, if you take a starter out before 5 IP no win, of course. But, what if that reliever doesnt make it through the 5th inning either? Would the next reliever get the win or does it not matter getting through the 5th inning after the bullpen gets in?

  8. John Autin Says:

    @7, Groundball -- Once the starter is ineligible for the win, the 5-inning rule does not apply; the win goes to the most effective reliever, with the first reliever taking priority if multiple relievers are equally effective.

  9. Stew Thornley Says:

    Groundball, it is possible for a reliever to get the win even he doesn't get through the fifth. It's possible that the reliever could have pitched multiple innings, maybe the third and fourth, and was relieved by another pitcher in the fifth. That's okay, and, if the scorer determines the first reliever to have been the most effective among all the relievers, he'll get the win (if relievers are deemed to have been similarly effective, the earlier/earliest reliever gets the win). The comment said it was the intent of the rule that the winner pitch at least one inning or pitch with a crucial out is made. So this comes down the the judgment, sometimes subjective judgment, of the official scorer, but there is no requirement that a reliever has to take it through the fifth inning to be eligible for the win in this situation.

  10. John Autin Says:

    @6, Neil -- Although I see now how it sounded, I did not mean to include the intentional walk among Masset's failings; I was just trying to describe the complete sequence of events.

    As for the wild pitch, though, I have no problem holding that to his account. Even if there's a subjective element in whether it was deemed a WP or a PB (I've not seen or read any details of that), there's no significant difference between that subjective decision and, say, the one the determines between a hit and an error. And for that matter, there may be luck involved in the hit(s) a pitcher allows. I don't think we can go down that road.

    Certain events are charged to his record. Once that's done, it's done, and the decision on the win has to flow from his performance as recorded.

    I think a guy who is summoned to get the last out of an inning to preserve a lead, and instead yields two separate events that put his team behind, and is lifted after recording one out, absolutely meets the "brief and ineffective" clause and should not get the win.

    As noted in the post, I fully recognize that reliever wins are of no discernible importance, at least not in this case. However, failing to apply the rules as they are clearly written offends my sensibility. The rule is there, and it takes no major effort to see its clear application in this instance. So why not do the right thing?

  11. Troy Hooper Says:

    Due to the subjective nature of the term "ineffective", it is hard to argue. Going by the rulebook definition, then Chapman should get the W. I have never once seen a scorer use the ineffective rule to withhold a win from a pitcher's record. I do sometimes question how well the official scorers know the rules pertaining to their job. Since I really am not a stickler on a pitcher's wins for determining how good he is (I saw many Yankee fans complaining about Sabathia with his MLB-leading win total not being on the All Star team - which he ended up being named to but was ineligible to pitch due to the rule involving Sunday starters).....the only thing that really matters in this case is that the Reds won the game and the Cubs lost.

  12. The comment to the rule says that the scorer should consider the appearance ineffective if the pitcher allows "two or more earned runs." Because only one UNearned run was scored, the comment was not applicable.

    The determination that the scorer must make in this situation is not which reliever was most effective, but first, whether Masset was ineffective, because I believe a presumption that he was the winning pitcher applied to him, the way I read the rules:

    "(a) The official scorer shall credit as the winning pitcher that pitcher whose team assumes a lead while such pitcher is in the game, or during the inning on offense in which such pitcher is removed from the game, and does not relinquish such lead [unless the scorer determines he was ineffective in a brief appearance]."

    The Reds assumed the lead in the inning in which Masset was removed from the game, that is, the next inning after he gave up the lead. Therefore, unless the scorer determined he was ineffective, Masset gets the win.

    Masset came in with a two runners in scoring position. I believe if someone runs the numbers, you will find that it is about a 50-50 proposition that the team at bat will score one or two runs under those conditions.

    The comment to 10.17(b) provides that in determining which pitcher was most effective, the scorer consider the context of the game:

    "The official scorer, in determining which relief pitcher was the most effective, should consider the number of runs, earned runs and base runners given up by each relief pitcher and the context of the game at the time of each relief pitcher’s appearance. If two or more relief pitchers were similarly effective, the official scorer should give the presumption to the earlier pitcher as the winning pitcher."

    Given the even odds that at least one run would score while Massets was pitching, I can see where the scorer could determine that Masset was not ineffective. If the scorer makes that determination, it does not matter if a subsequent pitcher was more effective.

  13. So let me get this straight. A reliever comes in and has a line of 0.1IP, 1H, 1K, 1 IBB, 0R, 0ER and you want to call that 'ineffective'?

  14. I believe in 1967, 6th Game W.S. Red Sox vs Cards, Didn't Sox Reliever John Wyatt Blow the Lead and then benefit from Sox Bats regaining the Lead in their half inning, and Wyatt got the Victory? (Blew lead in top of 8th,and Sox regained lead in the bottom of 8th Inning)

  15. John Autin Says:

    @12, Joseph -- You lost me with your opening sentence. All the runs allowed by Cincinnati were earned, and Masset allowed 2 inherited runners to score. So I don't know what in heck you're talking about there.

    If you're thinking that a wild pitch causes an unearned run, it isn't so. A passed ball would do that, but a wild pitch is considered, quite logically, a part of the pitching record, and thus cannot lead to unearned runs.

  16. @15, John: The box score that I looked at credited Masset with ZERO earned runs.

  17. John Autin Says:

    @13, Travis -- I think you were being facetious, but on the chance that you're serious, my answer is, YES -- a reliever who allowed two inherited runners to score, on two separate events charged to him, before getting a single out, was quite ineffective, no matter that the runs are not officially charged to him. He failed, big-time.

  18. But you're right that Masset allowed two runs. Sorry about that.

  19. Here's an example I remember, Phillies-Pirates in 1987:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PIT/PIT198704180.shtml

    Bedrosian started the 8th with a 5-2 lead, but gave up four runs for a 6-5 Pirates lead. The Phillies scored three in the ninth on Mike Schmidt's 500th career homer, and Tekulve shut the door in the bottom half for an 8-6 win. The scorer gave the win to Tekulve on the basis that Bedrosian was ineffective in his outing.

    Interestingly, this was Bedrosian's Cy Young season and one of only five blown saves he had all year. He had 15 two-inning saves that year (those were the days)...

  20. John Autin Says:

    Back to the rest of Joseph's post @12 -- Absolutely, Masset is the presumptive winning pitcher. But the scorer must still determine whether he was "ineffective in a brief appearance."

    Surely you agree that getting one out is a brief appearance.

    As to the probability of allowing at least one run -- thus losing the lead, which is what made Masset eligible for the win -- when there are 2 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd, I believe the odds are quite a bit less than 50%. Remember, 1st base is open, so a walk to the first batter does no damage; it takes a hit, error, wild pitch, passed ball, balk, or stolen base to score that runner from 3rd.

    According to Tangotiger's run expectancy table (link below), in a 4.2 R/G environment (the NL average is 4.14 R/G this year), a 2nd-and-3rd, 2-out situation will produce zero runs 73.8% of the time, which equates to a 26.2% chance of scoring at least one run.

    You may be thinking of the total run expectancy, which in that situation is 0.577 runs. But total run expectancy is the average of all run totals in all outcomes, including those in which many runs are scored. In this situation, the crucial question was whether Masset allowed 0 runs, 1 run, or more than 1 run. And the table shows that there was a 73.8% chance of 0 runs.

    Thus, there was a very reasonable expectation that Masset would get out of the inning with the lead. Not only did he not preserve the lead, he put them behind.

    That's ineffective.

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pkimQBCeCjbjIgxJ9vKvJSQ

  21. John, thanks for figuring that out.

  22. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    Is it possible the rule is in place to stop 'feasting on wins'...

    Example:
    If on the last day of the season, the AL Cy Young Award race is as close as it is now... Weaver; Sabathia and Verlander all sit at 19 wins with comparable ERA; WAR; etc. The Tigers start Porcello and get a nice 5-0 lead after 4 innings. Leyland pulls Porcello after 4.2 innings (thus depriving him of a win) and brings in Verlander to record the last out of the 5th. The Tigers go on to win 5-1 in 9 innings.

    The scorer can't give the win to Porcello so he has the choice of Verlander or another reliever. If the rule wasn't in place, then the win would have to go to Verlander even though it was clearly a way to get him his 20th win and probably a Cy Young.

    So mayhaps, by pure accident, this rule is in place to stop said feasting on wins (or perhaps not an accident as a way for players to not kick in incentive clauses or some other).

    So... when it's obvious the rule needs to kick in it would kick in and thus Masset's win really isn't all that important.

    Honestly, I have no idea how to respond to @19 other than a scorer taking the rules too literally.

  23. Tyler Kepner Says:

    Check out the box score from Mike Schmidt's 500th home run game, Phillies @ Pirates, April 18, 1987. In that game the official scorer took a save away from Kent Tekulve and gave him the win instead of Steve Bedrosian, using the "brief and ineffective" rule. I would bet Tekulve would have preferred the save.

  24. A casual observer (my wife for instance) might see this a a petty argument. But it's anything but petty. If someone makes up a list of obvious ineffective relievers who then got the win and enough of us complained about it, the Rules Committee might do something about. Otherwise official scorers are going to continue to give the win to ineffective relievers

  25. John Autin Says:

    @23 -- For some reason, I'm thinking that you really are Tyler Kepner, NY Times columnist and blogger. Welcome! It's an honor.

    Jim @19 beat you to the punch on the Teke/Bedrock game, but kudos for noting that it featured Schmidt's 500th HR.

    I do think, though, that Tekulve was past caring about saves by '87. He only had 3 that year, 4 the year before, and he was already making almost $1 million a year -- a decent check for a setup man in those days, even if that term wasn't in use yet.

  26. John Autin Says:

    @24, Dick -- Thanks for defending the principle.

    I wouldn't mind if the argument were labeled petty. My point, though, is that if the rules say one thing, and there's absolutely nothing to be gained for anyone by ignoring the rules, then why on earth should one stray from the rules?

    If the rule is bad or pointless, then it should be rescinded. Otherwise, it should be enforced. Having rules that nobody follows is bad for a culture.

  27. As long as the rule is as subjective as it appears to be, I don't blame official scorers for "not going there" in judging a pitcher as ineffective.
    If I were the official scorer, I would be looking for a lot more blatant case of ineffectiveness (a la the Bedrosian game @19) before departing from established practice.

    What should probably be done is to establish an ineffectiveness test for application of the rule. Plug in the relevant state parameters to something like Tango's run expectancy model (as JA described @20), and then say if the pitcher allows some multiple more runs than expected, he is judged to be ineffective for the purposes of the rule. Something along those lines would be much more to the point than simply saying "unless the pitcher is judged to be ineffective".

  28. I'm surprised that you aren't more upset that Ondrusek got a hold for 0.1IP, 3H, 1 HBP, 3R, 3 ER. Or is Hold just too much of a BS stat to waste ink on? Perhaps we should change the rules so that people on first are the new pitcher's responsibility? Or all the runners are the new pitcher's responsibility if it's a disaster when an inherited runner scores? Sliders are always borderline wild pitches so without actually seeing it is hard for me to say, but it seems harsh to call it ineffective. It seems half the strikeouts I see now a days are on balls in the dirt where the tag needs to be applied.

  29. DoubleDiamond Says:

    I remember reading an item in a magazine, possibly Sports Illustrated, just about 10 years ago about how Troy Percival either was denied a win because of an ineffective relief performance (it probably would have been a blown save for him, too) or picked up a win because of someone else's ineffective performance. I know that it was in August or September of 2001 because of things going on in my life at that time.

  30. Mighty Micheal Young got his 2000 hit tonight, he is the 11th fastest player in history to reach 2,000 hits. He did it in his 1,621st game. Mike went to college though and so did not get to the big leagues until age 24. Screw college, Carlos Zambrano quit high school so he could play ball, and Carlos is a well rounded fella nonetheless.

  31. John Autin Says:

    @28, Travis -- I agree that Ondrusek got a cheap Hold, and I don't think Holds are bunk. But as of now, there's nothing in the rules to keep him from getting that "H". If you want to lead the campaign to change that rule, you will have my support. But in this instance, I am only arguing that an existing rule should be diligently applied.

    And let's not forget, Ondrusek did get charged with the runs that scored while Masset was pitching, and had the Reds not rallied, he would have gotten the loss. So his own ineffectiveness was duly noted in the record.

    But it's simply not my intention tonight to try to rewrite all the scoring rules to best reflect the players' actual contributions to team outcomes. Every day, there are "unjust" Wins, Losses, Saves and Holds. That's too big an apple for me to bite at.

    I'm reaching for the low-hanging fruit: Enforce the existing rules!

  32. Also Michael Young is listed at 6'1", but from my analysis I believe he is 5'10" to 5' 11".

  33. Here's an example where the starting pitcher completes the minimum 5 innings with the lead and nobody on. Simon later enters the game with a lead and nobody scores the rest of the game, but Simon gets the victory.

    Sept. 5, 2010
    Tampa Bay vs Baltimore. Baltimore's starting pitcher, Tillman, pitches 5 and 1/3 inning and leaves with 1 out in the top of the 6th with a 4-3 lead, eligible for the win and cannot be the loser since no one is on. Johnson gives up 4 hits, 2 ER in 2/3 inning. Baltimore is know behind 5-4 after 5 and 1/2 innings. Baltimore scores 4 runs to take an 8-5 lead after 6 innings with Johnson now eligible to be the winning pitcher. Gonzales comes in the top of the 7th and gives up 2 more runs, keeping the score in favor of Baltimore, 8-7. Simon enters the game in the 8th with an 8-7 lead. Simon pitches a 3 batter 8th and Uehara a 3 batter 9th, both maintaining the 8-7 lead for the final score. The scorer gives Simon the victory.

  34. John Autin Says:

    Timmy, where were you last night when M.Y. made the final out with the tying runs in scoring position? :)

    But I jest. Young's a fine ballplayer, and pretty consistent. I wasn't too keen on his making waves this preseason when the club wanted him to change positions (again), but the older I get, the better I understand such things. In the end, he's played wherever they've needed him, and he has produced.

  35. DoubleDiamond Says:

    The Troy Percival game that I read about was probably this one that was played in Baltimore on July 21, 2001:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BAL/BAL200107210.shtml

    Percival blew the save by giving up three runs in the bottom of the 9th. This tied the game at 5 runs apiece. He did finish the 9th, so he was still the pitcher of record when Anaheim scored one run in the top of the 10th to go ahead, 6-5. Shigetoshi Hasegawa then pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th, which would normally appear to be a save, but instead, he got the win. All Percival got was a blown save. Al Levine got a hold. He came in with two outs in the 8th and gave up a hit before recording the final out of that inning. Alan Mills was the losing pitcher.

  36. John Autin Says:

    @33, Charles -- Interesting find. What's your take?

    Here's a link to that game, for those who want to follow along:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BAL/BAL201009050.shtml

    I think the scorer got it just right.

    For a minute, I was puzzled that Gonzalez was apparently deemed "brief and ineffective" despite pitching a full inning. The Rule 10.17(c) Comment gives an implicit standard of 2 ER allowed and less than one inning pitched.

    But then I realized: The "brief and ineffective" test applies only
    to the pitcher who is the presumptive Winner under the basic rule. If he is judged unworthy, then the Win goes to the subsequent reliever who is deemed to have been the most effective. Simon, with one perfect inning, was clearly more effective than Gonzalez. And while Uehara was just as effective as Simon, the rule gives the presumption to the earlier pitcher.

    BTW, in case there's any question, the starting pitcher can never be eligible for the win once he is out of the game and a time comes when his team is not ahead.

  37. John Autin Says:

    @35, Double -- Thanks for digging that up. I wonder if the rule has been changed, or the guidance added, since that game?

    The 10.17(c) Comment implies a standard of allowing 2 or more ER in less than one inning. Percival pitched a full inning. It's a tough call, because he was monstrously ineffective; still, if I were the official scorer in that game, I think I would have given Percival the game, just because of the guidance in the Comment.

  38. Tyler Kepner Says:

    John Autin -- I read right over comment #19, props to Jim for remembering it first. Another instance was this year's All-Star Game, where Tyler Clippard got the win despite facing only one batter and giving up a hit to him. A runner was thrown out at home, and the NL took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning. Kershaw or Jurrjens would have been a better choice, but hey, good for a guy named Tyler.

  39. I don't think this rule should necessarily be abolished (after all, there are plenty of subjective scoring decisions in baseball, the most obvious being hit vs. error), but it's used so infrequently that I'm not sure how much good it does. Indeed, I would imagine that a lot of scorers don't even consider it. As there have only been two examples given above, I certainly don't know how often it occurs, but I can tell you that, in my season-plus of covering baseball three-to-five days a week at ESPN, there was only one time in which we so much as DISCUSSED the possibility of the rule being invoked, much less considered it to be even slightly likely, much less saw it happen.

  40. John Autin Says:

    @38, TK -- And good for a pitcher as good as Clippard!

    @39, Mike -- OK, but ... you did discuss it! And I don't understand why any official scorer would not know this rule; I'm just a baseball fan with a day job, and I know the rule. Anyone who's an official scorer should have a keen interest in the rules, and should not hesitate to exercise his or her judgment when it's needed.

    Anyway, I like the rule; with so many seemingly unfair outcomes dictated by the Win/Loss rules, this is one small bone thrown towards those hungry for "justice."

  41. Note that from the play log and box score at fangraphs.com, (which has the games almost live), Masset's WPA was -.365, clearly the worst of the Reds pitchers. He came in with runners at the corners, not 2nd and 3rd, or 2 would have scored on the ground-rule double.

  42. @26, John:

    The scorer did not break the rule because it allows the scorer discretion to consider the pitcher effective, even if he allows two runs to score. He used his judgment. Your judgment is different. My judgment is different also, because I agree with you that it doesn't seem effective. But it is not breaking the rules for the scorer to apply his judgment.

    By the way, Masset didn't really give up the lead that resulted in the win. When he was replaced in the eighth inning, the Reds had a one run lead. Yes, that's hair splitting, but maybe that thought crossed the scorer's mind.

    I'm sure this isn't the only time in the history of baseball that this has happened. I wonder who got the win in those cases.

  43. M. Scott Eiland Says:

    Situations like this are part of the reason that I want to do away with the bullpen getting wins where they blew the lead, only to have the team come back and win and give the win to a reliever. I'd rewrite the rule to look like this:

    "If a starting pitcher goes five innings or more and leaves with the lead, he shall be declared the winning pitcher if his team wins the game--regardless of any lead changes taking place after that time--unless the lead is lost due to runners he is responsible for scoring after he leaves the game."

    Simple and fair. The bullpen can still get wins if the team is tied or behind after the starting pitcher leaves the game and later takes the lead--I see no reason why they should get wins for failing in their job.

  44. John Autin Says:

    @41, Kds -- Thanks for correcting me re: baserunner position. I knew where the runners where when I wrote the post, but somehow got confused along the way.

    It makes the case slightly stronger for not giving Masset the win.

    (So ... fangraphs.com has boxscores with WPA, almost live? I'll have to check that out!)

  45. John Autin Says:

    @42, Joseph -- Well, you say the scorer used his judgment. I don't think we can really be sure of that without hearing from him. I have a hard time seeing how a reasonable scorer could read the rule, and look at Masset's performance, and not judge him to have been "ineffective in a brief appearance."

    Note that, while the scorer is not required to follow the guidance of the Comment in determining what "brief and ineffective" means, he is required to apply the "brief and ineffective" test to each such situation:
    "The official scorer shall not credit as the winning pitcher a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance...." (emphasis added)

    You're right, strictly speaking, that it is not a violation if the scorer considered the rule and found that, in his judgment, Masset still deserved the win. I would, however, question that scorer's judgment.

    I'm not quite sure what you meant in your "by the way." I guess you're correcting my statement that giving up the lead "made Masset eligible for the win." OK, I should have said that giving up the lead was the only way that he could have become eligible to get the win.

  46. John Autin Says:

    @43, M. Scott -- I think you have the germ of something there, but the devil's in the details.

    If a starter gives up 7 runs in 5 IP, leaves with an 8-7 lead, and the bullpen allows 1 run over 4 IP, surrendering the lead, but the team ends up winning, I'm not keen to give the SP a Win there.

  47. @34 JA - I didn't mention MY last night for the same reason the Mets have not been talked about much lately :-)

  48. :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

  49. @45 John, excuse the confusion on the "by the way" comment, it was not directed at you. I was raising another general point.

  50. M. Scott Eiland Says:

    @46, John Autin -- You've raised the best argument against it, but they could adapt the rule at discussion in this thread to apply to the starting pitcher as well: a scorer might be inclined to consider a starting pitcher who goes less than six and gives up a pile of runs ineffective, and giving him or her the discretion to give another pitcher the win in that situation would be a good thing. The important thing would be to create the very strong presumption that the starting pitcher who leaves with a lead should be the winning pitcher in a game his team wins.

  51. John Autin Says:

    @47, TP -- How can you revel in my Mighty, Mighty Mets' misfortunes?!?
    :)

  52. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Leyland pulls Porcello after 4.2 innings (thus depriving him of a win) and brings in Verlander to record the last out of the 5th. The Tigers go on to win ..... The scorer can't give the win to Porcello so he has the choice of Verlander or another reliever. If the rule wasn't in place, then the win would have to go to Verlander .... So mayhaps, by pure accident, this rule is in place to stop said feasting on wins

    This is a different situation though. In your example, Verlander is *not* the pitcher of record. No reason he has to get the win, if he only pitches 1/3 inning. The win should go to the most effective reliever, presumably someone who pitched a couple scoreless IP.

    ***

    this was Bedrosian's Cy Young season and one of only five blown saves he had all year. He had 15 two-inning saves that year

    That's the 3rd most saves of exactly 2 innings in a season (Sutter '84 had 18). However, it is not close to the most saves of *at least* 2 IP. Dan Quisenberry has the record with 27 in '84, and has 3 of the 5 seasons of at least 20 such saves. (Remind me again why Sutter made the HOF while Quiz was 1-and-done?)

    The most in the past 20 years was Jeff Montgomery with 12 in '92. In the past 10 years, Joakim Soria '09 and Aquilino Lopez '03 with 5. This season, there have been 14 such saves total in MLB.

    I remember Aqulino Lopez being a big fantasy league pickup for somebody that year. He only got 1 save after that season. I can't remember the last time I thought of him.

  53. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I wonder if the rule has been changed, or the guidance added, since that game?

    I don't know for sure, but I think it was changed, in the last few years. I was always under the impression that the pitcher of record got the win, period. I believe I was actually listening to Sterling and Waldman do part of a game 2-3 years ago and one of them brought up the possibility of an ineffective pitcher of record not getting the win. Of course I assumed they had no idea what they were talking about. But I looked into it and I think this had been a recent rule change.

    But then again, there's the '87 Bedrosian/Schmidt game. So maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about.....

  54. As senseless as it may appear to be in giving a win to an ineffective pitcher, it's even more senseless to give the win to a pitcher who had yet to appear in the game when his team re-gained the lead.

    .

  55. "Hold just too much of a BS stat to waste ink on?"
    ***
    Yes. If I'm not mistaken a reliever could enter a game with his team up 10 runs, give up 9, but his team never loses the lead and he will get a hold, correct? If that doesn't make HOLD a meaningless stat I don't know what would.

  56. Skeeb Wilcox Says:

    I think the key phrase in the rule is "helping his team maintain it's lead". Masset gets the win because he had just finished the inning, albeit ineffectively, before the go ahead run was scored.

    The rule, as I read it, is dealing with two pitchers who BOTH pitch AFTER a lead has already been acquired. In other words: the starting pitcher does go five innings with a lead of 4-1. Masset comes in and gives up two runs without getting anyone out. Chapman comes in, goes a few scoreless innings. Cordero comes in and gets a save. Win to Chapman, save to Cordero.

    Since there was no lead to maintain, I feel that this rule does not apply to this particular game...

  57. @33 When I first saw the mention of the rule, I wondered if anyone ever used it. So I had to find an example where the starting pitcher went 5 innings. Lokking back over the thread here, there's at least 3. I think it's fairly rare for the scorer to go outside the expected winning pitcher when the starter has 5 innings. Perhaps the scorers need better guidelines. I gave an example where the winning pitcher didn't enter the game immediately after the winning run was scored. It probably doesn't upset too many players since starters and relievers are distinct and relievers know when they've had a bad outing. I think it would be more controversial if a player like Dizzy Dean in 1934 were pitching where his combination of relief and starting wins gave him 30. The league president was asked by the official scorer to approve 2 of the wins. Or perhaps it would bother rookie pitchers like Tom Metcalf with the Yankees (9/7/63) who was the pitcher of record when his team took the lead and he was not ineffective.

  58. I think the worst case of a scorer missing this rule may have been
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CAL/CAL199307020.shtml

    Heathcliff Slocumb comes into a tied (3-3) game with one out, and finishes the inning while allowing FIVE runs to score (four charged to Slocumb). Then his Indians score seven to take a 10-8 lead, and Slocumb leaves the game. Derek Lilliquist replaces Slocumb and pitches two perfect innings. No more runs score.

    And to whom does the scorer give the win? Slocumb.

  59. Skeeb Wilcox Says:

    @58 Again, it's just like I said in my post above (#56). There is no question there that Slocumb gets the win because he was the pitcher when the eventual winning runs were scored...since there was no "lead to maintain". I seriously can't see why you all have a problem with this!

  60. John Autin Says:

    @56, Skeeb -- I disagree with your reading of the rule. The 10.17(c) exception is clearly not limited to "vultured" wins, i.e., when the SP doesn't go 5 innings.
    ----------------------
    10.17(a) The official scorer shall credit as the winning pitcher that pitcher whose team assumes a lead while such pitcher is in the game, or during the inning on offense in which such pitcher is removed from the game, and does not relinquish such lead, unless ... Rule 10.17(c) applies.
    ...
    (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.
    -----------------------
    There's no ambiguity; the "brief and ineffective" test must be applied in this instance.

  61. John Autin Says:

    @59, Skeeb -- The phrase "helping his team maintain its lead" in 10.17(c) clearly refers to relief pitchers who come after the presumptive winner. It merely describes the situation in which such subsequent relievers appear, given that there is already a presumptive winner, i.e., the guy who was in the game when the lead was acquired.

    The "brief and ineffective" test still applies to the presumptive winner. If he fails that test, then subsequent relievers who maintained the lead are considered eligible for the win.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/official_scorer_10.jsp

  62. Skeeb Wilcox Says:

    @61 How can there be a presumptive winner when the game is tied?

  63. John Autin Says:

    @62, Skeeb -- I'm sorry, what game are we talking about? I was talking about the game that's the subject of my post. The Reds had the lead when Masset entered; they were trailing at the end of his work; they regained the lead in the next half inning. That makes Masset the presumptive winner.

    Were you talking about a different game?

  64. In this June 23, 1986 game between the Astros and Reds, Larry Andersen was the winning pitcher without officially facing a batter.

    Trailing 6-5 in the top of the ninth with runners at first and third and two outs, Andersen was called in to face Bo Diaz. He uncorked a wild pitch then tagged out Buddy Bell who was trying to score from third.

    Glenn Davis belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to make Andersen the winning pitcher.

  65. "The "brief and ineffective" test still applies to the presumptive winner. If he fails that test, then subsequent relievers who maintained the lead are considered eligible for the win."

    No, he doesn't.

    He's the pitcher of record.

    Did he pitch like crap?

    Yes.

    Were there more effective pitchers later in the game?

    Yes.

    Was he the pitcher at the time the lead was regained?

    Yes.

    Nothing else matters.

  66. "That makes Masset the presumptive winner."

    There's nothing "presumptive" about it.

    He was still the pitcher of record.

  67. John Autin Says:

    Chuck, you can voice your opinion. But the rule is there. And your opinion is not consistent with the rule.

  68. John Autin Says:

    Further to Chuck's comment -- Maybe you don't understand the definition of "presumptive"? The "pitcher of record" gets the win, unless one of the exceptions apply. That's what the rules say. Thus, using straightforward English, he's the presumptive winner, pending the outcome of the exception tests.

    Of course, I'm only reading the MLB rules. Chuck apparently gets his authority from some higher level.

  69. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Well, apparently other things do matter. Maybe you missed Rule 10.17(c), and the 60+ preceding posts?

  70. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Sorry, that was responsive to Chuck/65.

  71. JA @60, You write so well that I hesitate to pick on you. But, "vultured win", does not have anything specific to do with the starter not going 5. Any blown save/win would be a vultured win.

    About holds. There is one set of rules for wins/losses. If the go ahead run got on base when you were on the mound then you are in line for the loss. (Does anyone know for sure: if a pitcher leaves with a the score tied and a runner on 1st and less than 2 outs; the first batter to face the new pitcher grounds out into a Fielders Choice at 2nd; that runner now on 1st scores the go ahead run later that inning; who gets the loss?) There is a different set of rules for saves. If the go ahead run scored while you are on the mound, but got on base against an earlier pitcher; the earlier pitcher gets the loss and you get a blown save. If your team scores enough to go back in the lead the next half inning, you have a blown save/win Holds follow the save rules. You come into the game with a one run lead and nobody on base, you load the bases and leave before the end of the inning, none having scored. You have a hold. If the next pitcher lets 2 or more of the inherited runners score, you may get a hold/loss. I'd say that the save/hold rules tell us even less about who pitched well than the win/loss rules. (Even more so since blown saves/holds are not summed up in the statistics.)

  72. John @#67

    You are clearly misinterpreting the rule.

    Re-read it, and if you still need help with it, let me know.

    Especially your cited rule, 10.17 (c), which actually DOESN'T fit.

  73. Skeeb Wilcox Says:

    @63 John: I was speaking about the game of your original post AND the Heathcliff Slocumb game referenced later. In both cases the ineffective pitcher was still on the mound when the eventual winning run was scored. THAT and THAT ALONE makes them the winning pitcher...which the official scorer in both games acknowledged that they were.

    Me, Chuck and the official scorers have this thing in hand...

  74. There's an interesting question here. Matt Young was the "potential losing" picher after 6 innings. Slocomb became the "first potential winning" pitcher (first pitcher with a lead) after 6 and 1/2. Does 10.17c only apply to deciding potential winning relief pitchers if 2 or more enter the game with a lead? Would Slocomb have to enter the game with the team ahead to have the win taken away? In the example I gave at 23, Johnson gave up the lead and was the potential losing pitcher and became the potential winner, but the win awarded to Simon.

    When Masset entered the game, his team was winning, but he was not charged with any runs.

    Do you have to be charged with at least the tying run when you enter a game with a lead to have the win potentially awarded to another relief pitcher who maintains a lead?

    Perceval's game - he entered the game when his team was losing and was charged with runs that gave up the lead and Hasegawa maintained it. So there were two relief pitchers entering the game with the lead. Perceval was the default winner, but Hasegawa was awarded the win.

    The 2010 Baltimore game, 4 relief pitchers entered the game with the lead. Johnson, the default winner was the only one responsible for a tying and potential losing run. The starting pitcher left the game with the lead, nobody on, and since he pitched 5 innings, he left eligible for the win if the lead were maintained.

    1987 Bedroisan was responsible for giving up the tying run. Tekulve also entered the game with a lead.

    The 1967 WS games. With today's rules the scorer could have take the win from Wyatt

    Does rule 10.17c apply only if the default winner gave up the lead with at least a tying run charged to himself and another following reliever maintains a lead. If true all the scorer's decisions above were appropriate in either taking away the win or giving it to the default winner with the exception of the 1967 game.

    Can a win be taken away if the tying run were unearned?

  75. oneblankspace Says:

    @55 : No hold because he did not enter in a save situation. (You may be able to argue he was going for a 3-inning save, but I don't think that would work very well.)

    @72: The comment doesn't claim it is the only example of an ineffective appearance, just that an appearance like that is generally considered ineffective.

    In addition, the rule itself clearly states that it is a judgment call.

    ==============
    There was a time in the 1980s when relief wins were looked down upon because that meant the reliever did not get the save.

  76. John Autin Says:

    Well, Skeeb, you and Chuck clearly have something in hand. I'm not sure it's the same thing the official scorers have. And I'm quite certain that it's not anything found in the rules.

    I don't care if you want to continue in your willful misunderstanding of the rules. I just hate to think that some innocent reader would be led astray.

  77. John Autin Says:

    @71, Kds -- You're not picking on me by telling me that I'm misusing a term. I thank you.

  78. @72, um please specifically explain how 10.17c does not fit here?

  79. #71. I think if a fielder's choice replaces a runner who was put on the previous pitcher; the run is charged to the pitcher who put the first runner on.

  80. "I don't care if you want to continue in your willful misunderstanding of the rules"

    Please see #72, John.

  81. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Unbelievable.

  82. Johnny @#81,

    Well, that's kind of harsh, not everyone understands the rules, which I'm guessing is the point of the article, but, yeah, it's really not that difficult.

    This is pretty cut and dried and I can't see where there's a question, even for someone who doesn't have a basic understanding of the rulebook.

  83. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Actually, that was directed at you, Chuck.

    I really don't understand you. Whatever the topic is, you'll drop in and say "Actually, the answer is X," as if it's some Universal Truth. And then you'll continue on as if everyone knows it's X, even though there's been dozens of posts indicating that people *don't* know this. And you never explain it. You might be right, who knows? You act as if the knowledge is too valuable to share among the peons who don't already know it, unless they come begging for an explicit answer. What purpose do posts 72 and 80 serve? If the answer was so cut-and-dried, the thread would be finished by now. Obviously John, and others, don't see what you're talking about. Why not explain it?

    You are saying Massett gets the win because he is the pitcher of record, period. Rule 10.17(a) says the relief pitcher of record shall be credited with the win UNLESS rule 10.17(c) applies -- the pitcher was ineffective in a brief appearance.

    Can you explain, in plain English, without being condescending, what is being misunderstood?

    Each one teach one.

    Thank you.

  84. All: don't feed the trolls.

    John A.: great post, and I couldn't agree with you more re: your interpretation of 10.17c.

  85. Ouch...

    Yes, absolutely.

    In the middle of something currently, back in a couple of hours.

  86. JA - I agree with your rule interpretation, but I see Chuck's thought that it is simply being awarded to the pitcher of record when the lead is regained is just how scorer's have been doing it. It's like the strike zone - doesn't the rule book say the height of the zone should be up to the letters? That is never the case anymore.

  87. J.L. Vangilder Says:

    The pitcher of record is the rule that applies to this call. not how he
    pitched the inning before or part of the inning. The rule is clear and he
    get the win. I have been a official scorer in the PCL almost 20 years
    and have had many of the same calls. I ALWAYS scored it that way
    with no exceptions.

  88. John Autin Says:

    @86, J.L. -- Would you mind humoring me by reading MLB Rule 10.17, "Winning and Losing Pitcher," on this link?
    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/official_scorer_10.jsp

    Then please explain to me why Rule 10.17(c) should not come into play in the original incident referenced in this post.

    If you feel that 10.17(c) does not come into play in this incident, could you explain when it would come into play? The rule has to be there for SOME reason, no?

  89. Johnny (and John),

    The rule is designed to determine who and why to award a victory to when the starting pitcher does not pitch the mandated five innings necessary to qualify for the win, AND; his team DOES NOT relinquish the lead.

    John's scenario in rewarding Chapman the win would be correct IF, and only if, Massett had not coughed up the lead.

    But Massett did, and by doing so allowed his team to give up the lead, thus eliminating the need to arbitrarily decide a winning pitcher.

    Massett was the "pitcher of record" when the score became tied, he was also the pitcher of record when Cincinnati regained the lead, making him the winning pitcher.

    "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."

    "Maintain the lead."

    Massett did not, therefore the rule doesn't apply.

  90. Hell, if Masset maintains the lead, Arroyo is the winning pitcher. He went 6 innings and left with the lead.

  91. topper009 Says:

    "The rule is designed to determine who and why to award a victory to when the starting pitcher does not pitch the mandated five innings"

    THIS. IS. INCORRECT.
    1+1 3 and what you typed in @89 is just as wrong.

    10.17 deals with the winning and losing pitcher, not starting pitcher. 10.17(b) deals with the starting pitcher, HOWEVER, in this case rule 10.17(b) does not come into play at all, in any way.

    "But Massett did, and by doing so allowed his team to give up the lead, thus eliminating the need to arbitrarily decide a winning pitcher. "

    Actually the exact opposite is true, if Masset did not give up the lead there would be no question, the W would have gone to the starting pitcher.

    ""Maintain the lead."

    Massett did not, therefore the rule doesn't apply."

    The maintain the lead clause applies to the SUCCEEDING PITCHER, in this case Chapman, who did infact maintain the lead. Maintaining the lead has NOTHING to do with Massett.

    Basically nothing in post 89 is correct

  92. Remember when McCain became the 'presumptive' nominee even though Romney, Edwards, and Paul still had plenty of support?

    And then we had to decide between a maybe-Indonesian maybe-Kenyan guy and an angry woman who wasn't giving Bubba enough hot lovin'.

    And then we spent two months discussing Palin's hairdo instead of listening to McCain and the other guy discuss any actual issues?

    'Presumptive' is a dirty word that leads to a lot of nonsense.
    That's why I am so glad we have baseball and professional wrestling.
    Only things left we can really count on to tell us the truth.

  93. Johnny Twisto Says:

    John's scenario in rewarding Chapman the win would be correct IF, and only if, Massett had not coughed up the lead.

    No, if Massett did not give up the lead, the win would go to the SP (Arroyo), who pitched 6 IP and left with the lead.

    The rule is designed to determine who and why to award a victory to when the starting pitcher does not pitch the mandated five innings necessary to qualify for the win, AND; his team DOES NOT relinquish the lead.

    I think that's what rule 10.17(b) applies to. The SP would be the pitcher of record, except he did not pitch enough IP, so one of the relievers must be chosen as the winner.

    Here, we have a reliever blowing the starter's potential win, then his team gets the lead back. As the new pitcher of record, he should be in line for the win, except that it looks like 10.17(c) may apply. As JA said, if 10.17(c) does *not* apply to this situation, when does it apply?

  94. That's true, but I think some of the confusion lies in the fact there were two relievers between Arroyo and Masset.

  95. John Autin Says:

    It's clear from Chuck's comments that he is far too busy to actually read the rule, so ... why continue that line of discussion?

  96. "Maintaining the lead has NOTHING to do with Massett"

    It would have everything to do with him if he actually did maintain it.

  97. topper009 Says:

    No it wouldnt, if he maintained the lead the W would have gone to the starting pitcher and Massett would not be in the discussion for the W.

  98. Hey Chuck et al, your insights are needed at this unresolved ruling:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/13599

  99. Correct, Topper.

  100. @88 It appears that the only time a win was taken away from the default winning relief pitcher was when that pitcher came into the game with his team in the lead and he was charged with giving up an earned tying run (not counting inherited runners which were credited to the prior pitcher). He was a relief pitcher who came into the game with the lead after inherited runners scoring are factored in. He finished the inning and his team retook the lead while he was still the pitcher, making him the potential winning pitcher. Once he became the default winning pitcher his performance was compared with other relievers after him which of course inherited the lead and the scorer decided who would get credit for the win.

    I know it's not how the vague rule was written, but in practice, these are the circumstances when the win was reassigned in the limited cases we've seen. There are examples where what I described above did happen and the scorer still gave the win to a reliever who gave up a tying and go ahead run.

    Masset was not charged with any runs. Masset did not inherit a lead once the inherited runners scored.

    Rule 10.17(c) Comment: The official scorer generally should, but is not required to, consider the appearance of a relief pitcher to be ineffective and brief if such relief pitcher pitches less than one inning and allows two or more earned runs to score (even if such runs are charged to a previous pitcher).

    I think in practice the scorer only applies this to later relief pitchers who inherit a lead not the default winning pitcher. The brief and ineffective pitcher is eliminated when considering reassigning the win.

    The rules are vague. I think the scorer's view of the rule favors the first reliever.

  101. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Charles, that may true, but that's making a judgement call as to whether to apply 10.17(c). The posts by Chuck and the PCL scorer (#87) imply that 10.17(c) would *never* apply here, because Masset is the pitcher of record, period. So under what circumstances do they think it applies?

  102. "It's clear from Chuck's comments that he is far too busy to actually read the rule, so ... why continue that line of discussion?"

    I read the rule, and also understand it, John.

    You should try it.

  103. Johnny Twisto Says:

    We are trying. Why won't you explain it? You're dancing around. The two relievers before Massett confuse things? They have nothing to do with it!

    If 10.17(c) never applies to this situation, when does it apply?

  104. Johnny, I was VERY clear in my explanation, and I can't dance at all.

    "The two relievers before Massett confuse things? They have nothing to do with it!"

    They don't confuse me at all.

    I'm trying to look at it from the author's side of it and can't figure out where the confusion comes from.

    It's a cut and dry situation, and for the life of me can't see the point of all this.

  105. topper009 Says:

    Chuck, you are embarrassing yourself. It appears you do not have the ability or have taken the time to use a logic based if/then appraoch to disecting rule 10.17. For example, you are failing to understand the obvious fact the the "maintain the lead" clause you are citing in post 96 is referring to the succeeding pitcher (this case, Chapman), not the pitcher of "traditional" record (this case, Massett).

    10.17(a) W to Massett unless:
    1) starting pitcher AND 10.17(b) applies --> FALSE
    2) rule 10.17(c) applies
    10.17(c) W not to Massett if:
    1) at least 1 relief pitcher is effective in maintaining the lead--> TRUE (although up to interpretation that Chapman's line of 1.0 IP, 3K = "effective")
    2) Massett was "brief and inneffective":
    1) ...if such relief pitcher pitches less than 1 inning--> TRUE
    2) Allows 2 or more earned runs to score (even if they are earned to another pitcher) -->TRUE

    Therefore rule 10.17(c) applies thus negating rule 10.17(a)

  106. I'm skipping over most of the posts to simply say, great discussion question John! I think you found a great example of an instance when the "ineffective" rule should be applied. Unfortunately, until some scorer actually applies it and draws attention to it, it will probably continue to get overlooked.

    Here's a different (off-topic) question i'd love an answer to. Regarding the current riots in England, there was a news article that said some rioters were wielding not only gasoline-filled bottles, but also baseball bats. Baseball bats?!? Why would people in England even own baseball (not cricket) bats? Anyone have a good theory?

  107. Johnny Twisto Says:

    They don't confuse me at all.

    UGH. My point is, they didn't confuse anyone. They had nothing to do with it. I don't know why you brought them up, except to deflect the conversation.

    I think the points of confusion have been very clearly stated. You have not directly addressed them. You are continuing to do exactly what I said in #83. You don't answer the question, and then act as if it's been answered and everyone now understands it.

  108. "If 10.17(c) never applies to this situation, when does it apply?"

    "(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."

    This means the "ineffective" relief pitcher, in this case Masset, ALSO protected the lead.

    He did not, therefore, the rule doesn't apply.

  109. @101 You are correct. It is a judgement call for the scorer. One could view the less than 1 inning, 2 runs scored as saying Masset should not get the win, but as I said the scorer did not use that guideline in automatically eliminating Masset. It could be we're dealing with unwritten guidelines the scorers use.

    Case 1: I would say, if it is used at all, it is used in eliminating pitchers to receive the reassigned win not the default pitcher.
    Case 2: The starter had the lead but didn't go five and all pitchers maintained it.

    One view of the scorer might be that Masset did not lose the lead because the inherited runs tied the game and, in that case, he inherited a tie and the win is not eligible for reassigning. Or maybe this scorer never reassigns wins.

    It's not universal because sometimes a blown win reliever gets a win. Qualls for TB vs NYY 9/15/2010 gave up the tying and winning run, but still got credit for the win.

  110. topper009 Says:

    @108, OK last time I bite Chuck, the part about maintaining or protecting the lead

    DOES
    NOT
    APPLY
    TO
    MASSETT

    If you read the rule it states the succeeding pitcher must be the one who maintains or protects the lead in order to get the W from the traditional pitcher of record who was both brief and ineffective.

    If you are unaware of the definition of the word succeeding,

    suc·ceed·ing [suhk-see-ding] adjective
    being that which follows; subsequent; ensuing: laws to benefit succeeding generations.

  111. I think we are looking at it a little TOO closely now. I believe Chuck is looking at the entire 10.17, not the components individually, which is what everyone else is doing. There is a lot of cross-referencing in this rule between A, B, and C, and that can't be overlooked. What Chuck is saying is the general rule is a starter gets the win if he goes at least 5 innings and his bullpen maintains the lead. If the starter goes less than 5, that's where B and C to come into play. I don't think that's the way everyone is interpreting it at this point, and maybe we all need to step away and come at it with fresh eyes. Comment to section A says that when there is a tie (as there was when Massett allowed his first inherited run), the W/L rule resets, and whoever is the pitcher of record when the lead is gained by either side is the winning pitcher, provided his teammates maintain the lead. This makes Massett the winner here. There isn't meant to be a scorer's judgement in the case where the starter goes at least 5 innings, only where all hell breaks loose early in the game and relievers have to clean up. At that point, the best at cleaning up the mess and keeping the lead benefits.

  112. Topper...apparently, the official scorer doesn't believe Rule 10.17 (c) applies.

    Which is his right.

    Your opinion is just as meaningless and irrelevant as mine.

  113. topper009 Says:

    There is nothing, at all, except for the definition of "effective pitcher" and "brief and inneffective pitcher", that is up to interpretation in rule 10.17. It is as cut and dry as 4 balls = a walk.

    The actual discussion here is whether this should be a situation when the rulebook should be applied to the letter of the law when in historical practice it has not been. Based on the comment in 10.17(c) Massett was brief and ineffective, but this rule is rarely applied, so should it be here? I say no because of the long history of it being ignored, and therefore we know how to interpret relief pticher W-L records, which is basically to ignore them. I dont care if some pitcher gets a few cheap wins because I would never judge him based on the number of Ws he has.

  114. topper009 Says:

    @112, obvioulsy, based on him awarding the W to Massett. The question is whether or not people think this should continue to be one of those times when a rule is ignored because it has always been ignored, even though it very specifically states that the way it has always been done is incorrect.

    Another example is rule 3.09:
    "3.09 Players in uniform shall not address or mingle with spectators, nor sit in the stands
    before, during, or after a game. No manager, coach or player shall address any spectator
    before or during a game. Players of opposing teams shall not fraternize at any time while in
    uniform."

    which prohibits players from signing autographs during batting practice but is ignored and permitted. So Chuck, do you think the official scorer was correct in ignoring this rule even though it specifically says he is wrong in doing so.

  115. Official scorers go through extensive training and must be knowledgeable on not only the rules but any possible interpretations.

    We see decisions every day which leave us scratching our head; hits, errors, earned runs, etc which are obvious, so to have something like this pop up shouldn't rreally be a surprise.

    Maybe he doesn't understand the rule. Maybe he doesn't think it applies.

    The circumstances would certainly play a part; was the double a rocket over the CF's head or a bloop in no-man's land?

    I would have given Masset the win as well, the circumstances to me don't warrant going away from "pitcher of record".

  116. Richard Chester Says:

    On 6/23/34 at St. Louis the Dodgers took a 3-0 lead into the top of the sixth. Bill Hallahan came in to relieve and gave up a run on two hits and a walk. The Cards scored 5 runs in their half of the inning to take a 5-4 lead. Dizzy Dean then came in to pitch and pitched 3 innings giving up no runs and two hits. The scorer gave the win to Hallahan but was unsure of his decision so he referred the matter to NL president John Heydler. Heydler ruled that since Dean pitched great ball to protect the one run lead and because Hallahan pitched poorly the win should, and did, go to Dean. Dean won 30 games that year. You can read about this on B-R's Today in Baseball History column.

  117. @116 On 6/27/34 Dizzy Dean piched 8 2/3 innings against the Giants. Jim Mooney pitched 1/3 of an inning and retired the only batter he faced. In the bottom of the 9th, the Cardinals won and Dizzy Dean got the victory instead of Mooney. That same day, Heydler announced that Dean would get the win foir the 6/23 game. A similiar ruling gave Zachary of the Senators the win over the Giants rather than Marberry in game 2 of the 1924 WS.

  118. Whew! Was watching the Yankees-Red Sox game on the tube last night and missed all the action in here.

    This blog has legs, obviously. Amazing, who would have thought?

    Nothing terribly enlightening to add, except that I think the official scorer is always generous to the pitcher in his decisions, whether it is as simple as awarding an error/hit or deciding who wins the game.

    The problem is the word ineffective which is open to so much interpretation that it puts the scorer in the dreaded position of actually having to apply it.

  119. MrNegative10 Says:

    A few years ago a reliever for Baltimore was not credited with a win in a very similar situation. Wonder if any Orioles fans out there remember the game 2007-2009 time frame.

  120. Richard Chester Says:

    @117

    Dean did not have a stellar performance in that game, 12 hits and 7 runs(5 ER). The reliever Jim Mooney was credited with a save even though he came in with the score tied (according to the B-R box score).

  121. Johnny Twisto Says:

    So Chuck, are you now conceding that 10.17(c) *does* apply to this situation, and that JA and I were *not* confused about the meaning of the rule, but that it was the scorer's judgement which let Massett keep the win?

    That is what I infer from your #115. But if you would like to obfuscate some more, feel free.

  122. Here's how 1 paper reported Dean's victory

    Jerome Hermane was out of the game when young Bill DeLancey; St. Louis catcher, smote a home run in the last half of the ninth inning, but as Jim Mooney had pitched only to one batter in the ninth, when the Giants tied the score. Dean gets the credit for the victory.
    It made two wins in one day for the more famous half of the pitching Deans for he received notice just before the game that he had been awarded credit for Saturday's victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers, originally listed as a victory for Bill Hallahan.

  123. Dusty Baker Says:

    The best thing about this thread is no one has openly wondered why I am still a manager in the Major Leagues.

    The second best thing about this thread is no one bothered to ask why in the world I let Fred Lewis bat lead off.

    The third best thing about this thread is that when you're me you can still get away with starting Homer Bailey and posting on message boards mid-game and not get fired.

    The fourth best thing about this thread is even if I do get fired, there's a good chance the Cubs will truck me out again in '12.

    Love, Peace & Harmony,

    DB

  124. Masset gets the win

  125. "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."

    * Massett
    **Chapman

    It seems Chuck believes the two uses of the term 'relief pitcher' both apply to Massett.

    Massett is the 'ineffective in a brief appearance' pitcher.
    Chapman is the 'succeeding relief pitcher who pitches effectively'.

    He keeps repeating that Massett doesnt apply to the 'effective' relief pitcher. He's right. But he must acknowledge that Chapman DID pitch effectively and that's who should be considered for a win.

  126. John Bowen Says:

    I think there may be some question of precedent.

    If official scorers have been awarding the win to the last pitcher before the lead was permanently taken over, regardless of effectiveness, for 100+ years, then the interpretation isn't going to change now.

    Really, it's irrelevant. Wins for relievers are even more useless statistically than wins for starters.

    Tonight, Alfredo Aceves got the win and became the first pitcher to ever win 22 of his first 24 career decisions.

    No one in the world cares who Alfredo Aceves is.

  127. Why doesn't anyone care, John?

  128. John Bowen Says:

    Because he's a middle reliever?

  129. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I care. The guy is a good pitcher. I might go so far as to call him a Legendary Yankee.

  130. [...] Masset was ruled the winning pitcher in Sunday’s victory over the Cubs…but maybe he shouldn’t have been. Oh, and Todd Frazier hit his third big league [...]

  131. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    Someday middle relievers will get their due. Maybe that day is coming now given the fact that this discussion has been so lively.

    If you're running A.J. Burnett running out there every 5th day with all of the trappings of his inconsistency you kind of want (make that need) a guy like Aceves in your pen.

  132. It's interesting to me that in this whole thread, the only comment that I found to mention Win Probability Added was #41. WPA is a splendid contemporary tool for evaluating relief pitcher performance in context, and might helpfully inform discussions such as these. As comment #41 points out, Masset's WPA in this game was horrible. Using b-ref's box score, during Masset's appearance the Reds' likelihood of winning the game declined from around 65% as of the moment he entered the game to around 25% when his appearance ended. The double dropped the Reds' win expectancy from about 65% to about 40%, and the wild pitch dropped it from about 38% to about 20%. It's fair to say that a rule that awards a "Win" to a pitcher whose performance reduced that dramatically his team's chances of actually achieving a win is either being interpreted badly or, if not, is a flawed rule.

  133. Chuck Hildebrandt Says:

    Here's an idea: abolish the statistics of "wins" and "losses" for pitchers. Individuals do not win -- teams win.

    Nah, it'll never happen ...

  134. J.L. Vangilder Says:

    Let me pose a question? are any of you official scorers in any league?
    Just try and give the win the someone other than the pitcher of record.
    The one who was in the game when the go ahead run scored regardless
    of what he did in the previous inning or innings. MLB will shoot you down
    and so will the winning team pitching coach. I have tried. there computer selected the winning pitcher unless is falls under the starter
    not completing 5 innings with the lead never changing.

  135. Johnny Twisto Says:

    That's not responsive to post 88.

    It also seems hard to believe a AAA pitching coach would worry that much about his middle reliever who blew a lead not getting a win, when one of his other pitchers did get the win.

  136. J.L. Vangilder Says:

    You would not believe what the coaches ask me to do at the AAA level.

    Again let me explain that MLB stats would not let me give the win
    to any pitcher other than the pitcher of record. I am also sure that
    same would apply in the big leagues. why don't you go on the Ellias
    sports bureau site and pose that question??

  137. J.L. Vangilder Says:

    Sorry I did not answer your question from post 88. The rule would only
    apply to instances when the starting pitcher did not qualify for the win
    because he left the game too soon,

    Look at rule 10.17 (a) 2 I know this is hard to believe but the truth
    about it and that is way it has called for the last 50 years.

    How many people would understand that the rule book has 36 pages
    that just apply to the Official Scorer.

  138. Johnny Twisto Says:

    J.L., but it looks like 10.17(b) deals with selecting the winner when the SP does not go 5. 10.17(c) seems to address games like the subject of this thread. Would you say that 10.17(c) *could* apply to this game, but in practice that rule is just never enforced?

    Also, how do you explain the game linked in post 19, where Tekulve gets the win, though it looks like Bedrosian is the pitcher of record and Tekulve would ordinarily get the save?
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PIT/PIT198704180.shtml
    Is that just a complete rarity?

    Thanks for the responses. Getting the opinion of an official scorer is useful.

  139. Johnny Twisto Says:

    J.L, can you also look at this topic about the Brendan Ryan play last week.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/13599

    It looks like it was officially scored a fielder's choice. As I wrote at post 25, it doesn't seem to fit the definitions of a fielder's choice. How would you score it, and can you identify the rule(s) which apply?

  140. @134
    J. L. Vangilder, are you permitted to say what team you officially score for?

  141. J.L. Vangilder Says:

    Ok let;s look at the infield single or triple. I am sure the final was made
    by the Ellias sports bureau. So things happen that just don't fit the rules.
    i would have gave him a triple.

    I am the OS for the New Orleans Zephyrs. AAA of the Flordia Marlins.
    Next year will be my 20 year with AAA.

    I want to check the box on that game with Pirates. will let you know

  142. @ 134 and 136

    It happened on in the majors on Sept. 9, 2010 @ posting 36. The starting pitcher left with the score 4-3 in his favor after 5 and 1/3 innings and nobody on. Simon enters the game in the eighth with his team ahead 8-7 and the score never changes, but he gets the win.

    I will not doubt you when you say that in your league you cannot do this.

  143. John Autin Says:

    J.L. Vangilder -- I hope you don't mind my posting this ABC news feature on you:
    http://www.sportsnola.com/sports/zephyrs/398158-abc26-video-zephyrs-official-scorer-jl-vangilder.html

    By the way, my late daddy lived a couple miles from Zephyr Field, on Tullulah between Airline and Jefferson Hwy. in River Ridge ... Looks like it's plenty hot in Metairie today -- I hope that press box is air-conditioned!

  144. @143
    JA, thanks for the link.

    Mr. Vangilder, please continue to post in BR. Your perspective would be a great addition to our discussions.