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Scoring Question - Unearned Runs


brwrsfan

I was watching the Brewers the other night with some of my friends (who like baseball, but aren't exactly the diehard that I am). We were discussing unearned runs and how they are calculated. I got them to understand the basic rules: if a guy reaches on an error and he scores, it doesn't cout against the pitcher, anything after 2 outs with an error in the inning is unearned, etc. They were fine with this.

One of them then asked me a question that I actually didn't have a legitimate answer for....If an error is made by the pitcher and that runner scores, why is it an unearned run? The pitcher was the one that made the error, so it's HIS fault that runner is on base...meaning he "earned" the run for himself.

I know that it doesn't, as anybody reaching on an error would be an earned run, regardless of who made it...but why is that exactly? If the pitcher makes the error, it's their fault the runner is on base to begin with. Logically, I would think that would be an earned run, but it's not. Any thoughts on this? I need to give these guys something when I see them tonight, they've been needling me on it for a few days now.

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This may be silly, but other than a wild pitch, I don't think pitchers get charged with errors - the theory being that they aren't trained fielders and anything that would be a play they make couldn't be assumed as it's a difficult play and requires extraordinary effort to create an out.
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Sure pitchers get charged for errors. Say a slow running batter hits a dribbler right to the pitcher and the pitcher ends up winging the ball into the third deck. There has to be a scoring decision on how the runner reaches base.

 

As far as why pitcher's errors don't count as earned runs, the only thing I can come up with that all runners that reach base due to error are unearned. (zzz came up with the reason perfectly.)

 

Also, the "anything after 2 outs with an error in the inning is unearned" isn't quite accurate. It's the case if a batter reaches on an error, not just any error. For example, if the first two batters make outs, the next walks and on a steal attempt the catcher's throw sails into center field, allowing the runner to go to third. Most of the time the runner would get credited with a stolen base and the catcher gets an error on the throw, allowing the runner to advance to third. If the next batter hits a home run, both runs would be earned. Because the runner would have scored whether the error had occured or not.

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Also, the "anything after 2 outs with an error in the inning is unearned" isn't quite accurate. It's the case if a batter reaches on an error, not just any error. For example, if the first two batters make outs, the next walks and on a steal attempt the catcher's throw sails into center field, allowing the runner to go to third. Most of the time the runner would get credited with a stolen base and the catcher gets an error on the throw, allowing the runner to advance to third. If the next batter hits a home run, both runs would be earned. Because the runner would have scored whether the error had occured or not.

 

I understand that part. Sorry, didn't word that one very well.
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However, if in the case we are discussing above (runs after 2 outs in an inning with an error)... if there is a pitching change, any runs given up by that pitcher (batters he is responsible for) would be earned.

 

For example, groung ball out, fly ball out, error on the SS, a HR, then a walk. The pitcher is pulled. Reliever comes up and gives up a walk and a HR before getting the last out. 3 Runs are charged to the first pitcher, none earned. Two runs are charged to the second pitcher, both earned.

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Runs attributed to errors by the pitcher are unearned because they're (allegedly) a function of his defense rather than a function of his pitching. I stuck "allegedly" in parentheses because defense and pitching don't necessarily separate cleanly, even if a player other than the pitcher makes the error.

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As far as why pitcher's errors don't count as earned runs, the only thing I can come up with that all runners that reach base due to error are unearned. (zzz came up with the reason perfectly.)

Not always. You kinda touched on it in your next paragraph, but if a guy reaches on an error with 1 out and the next guy hits a HR, that's 2 ER's.

 

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As far as why pitcher's errors don't count as earned runs, the only thing I can come up with that all runners that reach base due to error are unearned. (zzz came up with the reason perfectly.)

Not always. You kinda touched on it in your next paragraph, but if a guy reaches on an error with 1 out and the next guy hits a HR, that's 2 ER's.

 

 

Just one ER in this case.

 

It's pretty straight forward until you get into situations involving FC's/pitching changes and such.

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Here's a short answer to calculate earned vs unearned. How many runs would that pitcher have given up if there had been no errors? You can't assume a DP or a Caught Stealing.

The poster previously known as Robin19, now @RFCoder

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However, if in the case we are discussing above (runs after 2 outs in an inning with an error)... if there is a pitching change, any runs given up by that pitcher (batters he is responsible for) would be earned.

 

For example, groung ball out, fly ball out, error on the SS, a HR, then a walk. The pitcher is pulled. Reliever comes up and gives up a walk and a HR before getting the last out. 3 Runs are charged to the first pitcher, none earned. Two runs are charged to the second pitcher, both earned.

In this case, the two runs charged to the second pitcher would be earned for that pitcher, but count as unearned runs against the "team".

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The situation that always gets me is the "reconstructing the inning without the error" thing. Say with two outs, Weeks singles. He then steals second (getting credit for a stolen base) and takes third on the catcher's throwing error. Cameron than singles, driving in Weeks. Without the error, Weeks would be on second and with two outs on a single to the outfield, Weeks would likely have scored anyway. Should that run be counted as unearned? I've always been under the impression that that run would be earned. Or does the official scorer assumes runners advance one base on a single?
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ERA is a measure of pitching, not a pitcher's defense.

Well, no. Defense is more than just errors, obviously. Defense has a heavy hand in shaping a pitchers ERA, we've talked about this a lot with Suppan.

 

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Also, I believe that if a batter hits a HR, regardless of the number of errors that inning or the situation (i.e. two outs and an error preventing the third out), his run is earned. Just another factoid to complicate things.
I am not Shea Vucinich
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Just one ER in this case.

 

It's pretty straight forward until you get into situations involving FC's/pitching changes and such.

Yea, I mis-worded that. Say the runner gets on base with an IF hit, the fielder throws the ball away and he reaches on a hit, moves up on an error and then the HR comes. Then it's still 2 ER's even with the 1 out error.

 

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Also, I believe that if a batter hits a HR, regardless of the number of errors that inning or the situation (i.e. two outs and an error preventing the third out), his run is earned. Just another factoid to complicate things.

 

Nope. The first example in the official rules says otherwise:

 

Peter pitches and retires Abel and Baker, the first two batters of an inning. Charlie reaches first base on an error charged to a fielder. Daniel hits a home run. Edward hits a home run. Peter retires Frank to end the inning. Three runs have scored, but no earned runs are charged to Peter, because Charlie should have been the third out of the inning, as reconstructed without the error.

 

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

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