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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dodgers Not Helping My Day Get Better, Lose To Correia: Padres 3, Dodgers 1

Clayton Kershaw has had four quality starts so far this year, but this one wasn't one of them. He was sloppy just about the whole way through so much so that Joe Torre yanked him two pitches (both balls) into his at-bat facing the pitcher, Kevin Correia. Jeff Weaver then threw three strikes to get Correia out and end the inning; since Helen brought this up during the game, I figured it would be useful to recall rule 10.16(h) (PDF):
A relief pitcher shall not be held accountable when the first batter to whom he pitches reaches first base on four called balls if such batter has a decided advantage in the ball and strike count when pitchers are changed.
(1) If, when pitchers are changed, the count is
2 balls, no strike,
2 balls, 1 strike,
3 balls, no strike,
3 balls, 1 strike,
3 balls, 2 strikes,
and the batter gets a base on balls, the official scorer shall charge that batter and the base on balls to the preceding pitcher, not to the relief pitcher.

(2) Any other action by such batter, such as reaching base on a hit, an error, a fielder’s choice, a force-out, or being touched by a pitched ball, shall cause such a batter to be charged to the relief pitcher.

...

(3) If, when pitchers are changed, the count is

2 balls, 2 strikes,
1 ball, 2 strikes,
1 ball, 1 strike,
1 ball, no strike,
no ball, 2 strikes,
no ball, 1 strike,
the official scorer shall charge that batter and the actions of that batter to the relief pitcher.
Weaver came in on a 2-0 count, struck out Correia, and was credited with a pair of strikeouts (the other was Edgar Gonzalez in the fifth). But what a crazy rule.

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Comments:
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I understand what they're trying to do (you're right, it's all about assigning blame/giving credit where it's due), but it just seems to me that the cutoffs are somewhat arbitrary.
 
I don't get it. Why is it a crazy rule? It reads to me like if you come in to a deck already stacked against you, you aren't penalized for failing; the previous pitcher who stacked the deck is. But if you succeed, you get credit for it. This seems consistent to me with who "owns" the baserunners when a relief pitcher comes in -- if they score, it doesn't count against the reliever's ERA. If they don't score, the reliever's ERA still goes down because he gets credit for the IP, not the pitcher who started the inning. It's not 100% analogous, but the spirit of both rules seems essentially the same to me.
 
Yes, indeed they are. But hardly the only ones!
 
After now staring at this intriguing rule you've presented for much longer than I should have, it's think it's not entirely arbitrary. This rule seems to contain an idea that for a pitcher to be held fully accountable for a strikes-and-balls outcome of an AB, he is entitled to have at least three balls to work with, or failing that have at least one more ball available than strikes required to throw.

Of course, this idea might in and of itself be considered arbitrary, but at least it's a consistent idea which guides the specificity of parts 1 and 3 of the rule.

As for section 2, we can only guess at the intent, but I think it is saying that it's never reasonable to hold a pitcher accountable for a ball in play if he didn't throw it. I see the logic of this. Even if we think that the BIP may have been influenced by the starting count, that is speculative, unlike a BB or K, which is the concrete outcome of an incremental process started by the previous pitcher.
 
Heh, thank you for commenting! This is one of the great parts of having a blog.
 

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