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Keith has worked as an independent contractor scoring games for both Baseball Info Solutions and STATS LLC. So he'll occasionally notice an interesting scoring quirk or situation and share it in his Scorer's Corner.



September 26, 2006: Fielder/runner collision in Cubs/Brewers game

What happens when a runner and a fielder collide on a play?  It depends.  But it happened in Tuesday's Cubs-Brewers game, and here's how it panned out.

A single by Henry Blanco was deflected by the pitcher to the left side of the infield.  On his way from second to third, John Mabry collided with third baseman David Bell, who was attempting to corral the ball.

Usually when this happens, the runner is called out.  A runner must allow a defender the chance to field a ball, even if that defender is directly in the baseline as Bell was.  This is not to be confused with a defender who is not attempting to make a play on a ball; if such a fielder does not yield the baseline to a runner, that runner may be awarded extra bases as the umpire sees fit.

But in this particular case, all hands were called safe because of the deflection by the pitcher.  The principle is similar to how pass interference cannot be called after a tipped ball in football.  When a ball abruptly changes direction, a player cannot be expected to anticipate the vector of the deflection.  Mabry had know way of knowing in that split second that Bell would be charging in front of him on that play.

Bell was seen discussing the safe call with third base umpire Rick Reed for some time after the play.  Three innings later, Bell got ejected by home plate umpire Tim Tschida for arguing balls and strikes.

Anyway, the play added one toward both Blanco's hit and RBI totals of four a piece. And Henry Blanco generally needs a play like that to accumulate such numbers in a single game.

End of August 2005: Iowa Cubs/New Orleans Zephyrs 7-game series

Although this series only lasted four games due to the influence of a tough chick named Katrina, there were a couple of interesting notes from Thursday's doubleheader. AAA doubleheaders are two 7-inning games played the same day.

Cubs starter Rich Hill threw all seven innings in game one. He therefore earned a complete game for just a seven-inning, 91-pitch effort. It is his only professional complete game to date, and looks misleading on the back of his baseball card. How often do misinformed scouts and analysts see a pitcher with a few complete games on their minor league track record and assume that he can go 120 pitches because he has supposedly done it before?

In game two, Zephyrs starter Ed Yarnall began his night by fanning six batters through two innings. He tapered off after that, but wouldn't it be a shame if a pitcber toyed with a 20-K performance only to see the game end after seven innings?


August 11, 2005: The Athletics' Wild Win

Yahoo!'s play-by-play for Oakland's jaw-dropping win over the Angels tonight read as follows:

``J. Kendall scored on fielder's indifference, B. Crosby to second on F. Rodriguez's fielding error''

Of course, what really happened is that Crosby got to second on Defensive Indifference, and Kendall scored when Jose Molina's throw back to the mound glanced off of K-Rod's glove. They got it backwards to where it didn't make a whole lot of sense.

It also doesn't make sense for Scott Shields to bear the loss when clearly K-Rod's gaffe is what cost the Angels an important game, but that is the correct scoring of the play.


August 5, 2005: Team Unearned Run

Generally speaking, an error committed with two outs that allows a batter to reach safely causes any runs scored later in the inning to be unearned. However, a relief pitcher brought in during an inning cannot benefit from an error committed while the previous pitcher was on the mound.

In today's game, Tacoma Rainiers' starting pitcher Cha-Seung Baek allowed five Unearned Runs in the 5th before being relieved by Chris Key. Key then allowed the first two Zephyr batters he faced to reach, with one (Juan Melo) advancing on a throwing error by the right fielder.

So both of these runs score, the first being an earned run charged to Key. Key was responsible for putting the runner on base, and the error that occured earlier in the inning did not affect Key's pitching situation. However, while the run is Earned to Key, it's Unearned to the Rainiers as a team. This is because the run would never have scored had it not been for the two-out error earlier in the inning.

The second run was unearned to both, but that is because of the right fielder's error, not the error made back when Baek was pitching. Had the throwing error not occurred to allow Melo to advance to second, both of Key's runs would be Earned for him but Unearned for the Rainiers.

This has a couple of implications:

1) At the end of a season, a team will likely have fewer Earned Runs allowed than the sum of all of their pitchers' Earned Runs. As a result, comparing an individual reliever's ERA to his team's ERA will sometimes prove misleading; he may be better relative to the team than the statistics indicate.

2) Starting Pitchers will generally have a slightly larger percentage of their Runs Allowed being Unearned as compared to relievers. This is important when comparing a starting pitcher's ERA to a reliever's.


July 24, 2005: Who Did He Just Walk?

Tonight, the rehabbing Nick Johnson struggled to an 0-2 count in his second at bat before an hour-long rain delay ended his night.

Understandably, the Zephyrs did not wish to risk his bad heel on the wet field, so Wes Carroll pinch hit in the middle of the at bat and proceeded to strike out.

...or did he? Not officially, anyway. The strikeout is credited to Johnson, and since Carroll got replaced in a double-switch following the at bat, he receives a game played, a pinch hit appearance, and no other evidence that he swung a bat in the game.

Now that's not such an unusual situation, but it reminded Zephyrs Official Scorer J.L. Vangilder of an instance a few years back where there were two batters and two pitchers involved in the same at bat. The details of this event are a little complex, but the result was that the pitcher who got charged with the walk never even faced the batter whom he walked!







Notice an interesting scoring phenomenon? Email Keith at
keith@baseballevolution.com