Apr 4, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher David Carpenter (48) throws during the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

ERROR - On the Official Scorer


The Official Scorer messed it up.  Luis Avilan was credited with the pitching Win in that historically whacky game between the Braves and Phillies on Monday evening.

That win was supposed to go to David Carpenter.

Baseball’s rule book governs literally every aspect of the game – including how it should be scored.  But Monday night, the Phillies Official Scorer failed to abide by one of those rules.  Here’s the relevant technical stuff (some details omitted for fear of putting readers to sleep; also some emphasis is added)…


The Rule

10.17 Winning And Losing Pitcher
(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
(1) such pitcher is a starting pitcher and Rule 10.17(b) applies; or
(2) Rule 10.17(c) applies.

… [ skipping boring stuff about inning requirements: here's 10.17(c) ]…

(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.
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).


The Criteria

  • Brief Appearance.  The guideline as given in the rule’s comment indicates “less then one inning”.  This actually constitutes the only escape clause for the Official Scorer, because… somehow… inexplicably… Avilan was allowed to finish the entire inning.  I suppose you could also use the phrase “…generally should, but is not required to, consider…” in a court of law, should the Official Scorer actually be brought up on charges for this egregious violation of baseball sensibilities.
  • Ineffective.  There is no alternate universe in which anyone sane can consider five earned runs yielded as an “effective” outing.  Not over a single inning.  Not when the lead had been a robust four runs before Avilan’s appearance.  Not when the rule book’s guidance suggests “2 or more earned runs” (or even ’3 or more’ if you’d like to extrapolate that to a full inning).
  • Most Effective Succeeding Reliever.  Clearly, this was David Carpenter.  Not only was he the only later reliever, he also was highly effective:  1 K, 1 BB, 4 batters faced; no runs allowed.


The rulebook phrase that has this topic stuck in my craw, though, is this one:

  • “…shall not credit as the winning pitcher…”


That means one thing:  there is no wiggle room – no choice – no option.  If you find that a reliever was ineffective, then you cannot – as Official Scorer – give him the W.  Period.  Over.  Done.

But it happened.


I’m actually not trying to beat up on Luis here – there are some days that are just like this.  I actually agreed with leaving Avilan in to face Ryan Howard with the bases loaded, given his success against the slugger.  But after that?  The subsequent homer is on Fredi, but that’s now just water under the bridge.  I just want a wrong to be righted it should be Carp’s Win.

So with that, we have a winning pitcher who received credit for the ultimate “Vultured” (baseball term) win.  He gets a blown save, yields 5 earned and the lead in just a scant inning, and then his team bails him out just 4 batters and 1 out later.

According to ESPN, that hasn’t happened in 80 years.  And only then because in that 1934 case, there was no ‘next’ reliever to hand the win to!  In other words, everybody else followed the rule book!


I do not have the name of this Officer score-person.  But he/she an employee of the Philadelphia Phillies.  Maybe that’s all we need to know.

Sorry, David.

< /end rant >

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Tags: Atlanta Braves David Carpenter Luis Avilan

  • Lee Trocinski

    Or we could just stop giving pitchers wins and losses…

    • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

      Agree with that Lee, or at the very least stop giving W/L the prominence it has in award determination. Too many factors to give these letters as much weight as we often do. Nonetheless, good point on the rules Alan.

    • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

      For the same reason, I’d like to stop referring to phrases like “Julio Teheran was facing Cliff Lee” last night. No, he wasn’t – except when Lee was batting. He was facing the Phillies’ lineup. And (of course) by the same logic, he’s not responsible for the runs his team’s offense scores… anyway – yeah, that’s another rant.

      But since they do track this stuff, the rules need to be enforced for the sake of scoring uniformity. That’s the overriding point here today.

      • fireboss

        This whole thing goes back to the way the game used to be played. Pitcher’s were expected to go 9 and hit, run the bases and field their positions. Because they did all of that they were credited with the win . It seemed logical then to give them the loss when they didn’t win but unless the pitcher was just awful and didn’t do any of the above the loss wasn’t their fault. Since the article by the Philly writer calling 6 innings a quality start created the fallacy that 6 innings is good enough and the advent of the dufus hitter in the always boring league pitchers rarely do any of those things. The tradition is hard to overcome and will require a major entity – in my youth that was the Sporting News but today I don’t know who – to stop talking about it period. Instead they could show a line like this:
        starts/innings/era/whip/ba (against). For Lee this year that would be 4/27/4.00/1.556/.342. For Teheran 4/28/1.93/1.036/.228

        I know that omits somebody’s favorite stat but these are things non-sabermetric folks can understand, not theoretical numbers that have to be explained.

        EDIT: After I posted my feed tell me BBR is now showing FIP as well as ERA. Teheran’s FIP is 3.81 while Lee’s in 2.17. I understand FIP and it attempts to show how well the pitcher actually is pitching thus eliminating the “he wasn’t that bad in spite of the numbers” that we got from the eye test. Don’t know how long it takes Joe Q Public to understand it.

        The Teheran vs Lee thing is never going to die. In football it’s quarterback vs quarterback and in baseball it’s always going to be pitcher vs pitcher in their duel.