unearned run with designated runner

  • Post
    Mark Astolfi
    According to Wikipedia (I cannot find the official scoring rule on this) if the designated runner in an extra inning is retired on a fielder’s choice, and the batter who hit into the fielder’s choice eventually scores, his run is unearned. This makes sense from the point of view that the presence of the DR entitles the pitcher to one “free” unearned run. The question is, which run should that be?

    For example, suppose A is the DR. B leads off and walks. C grounds into a fielder’s choice with A out at third. Now if B scores, his run is earned, as well it should be, since he was walked and as such is the pitcher’s responsibility. If C scores, his run is unearned, which also makes sense as he is the “stand-in” for the DR.

    The trouble is that if you reconstruct the inning without the DR, the result of the fielder’s choice should have been B out at second, so he would not have been in the game and his run should be unearned, since it could not have happened without the presence of the DR.

    What would make more sense is that the first run scored in an extra inning, either by the DR or by somebody else, is unearned…except if the DR is out of his own accord, caught stealing or picked off, in which case all runs are earned. What do you think? 

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      Frank Watson
      I generally agree with your last paragraph. You can’t erase the earning potential of A, simply because A was put out. If the fielder had chosen to put out the batter at first, the runner on third would still score as unearned, right? So no choice by the fielder can eliminate that earnings potential.

      I don’t believe you can assign “earned” or “unearned” status to B and C until you know the circumstances under which they score (when reconstructing the inning), but generally, it’s still that lead runner that is unearned unless, as you point out, the DR is out of his own action or by a double play.

      Mark Astolfi
      If A is out on C’s fielder’s choice, and B eventually scores to end the game, B’s run would be earned according to how I understand the current rule, since it would be C’s run that would be unearned in the place of A’s. 

      I say, and I believe you agree with me, that because B’s run is the first run scored, it ought to be unearned, since he would not have remained in the game except for the presence of A and A’s being put out by a field’s choice. The whole point of the rule is to credit a run scored because of the presence of A as unearned, since the DR was no “fault” of the pitcher’s. 

      Now the trouble with what I just said is that we don’t know for sure if, in the absence of A, B would have been put out on C’s fielder’s choice, or if C would have been put out instead. Reconstruction of the inning now isn’t so much what happened, but why it happened, and I don’t think you can assume that. So reconstruction in this case is imperfect and we must do the best we can. I don’t believe the current rule does the best it can. 

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