Originally posted on Baseball Prospectus  |  Last updated 7/28/12

On Friday night, Ryan Cook entered the game for the A's in the eighth. He allowed two inherited runners to score and one of his own, blew the lead, and got the final out of the inning. The A's then took the lead back in the ninth. Jerry Blevins replaced him and protected the lead. As you know, Ryan Cook would be credited with the victory. But 

Cook was the rule-book victor, except the rule book has an exception. If a reliever is in line to get the win but is deemed to have pitched too ineffectively to get the win, the scorer can award it to somebody else. The rule: 

(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). Rule 10.17(b) Comment provides guidance on choosing the winning pitcher from among several succeeding relief pitchers.

You could be forgiven for not knowing this exception existed (if you didn't know this exception existed). It's the first time I can remember it happening (though I don't follow pitcher wins decisions all that closely). Meanwhile, there are lots of times I can find of it not happening. In 1993, Heathcliff Slocumb allowed five runs to score in less than an inning but still earned the win. (The guy after him pitched two scoreless.) No fewer than 20 pitchers have earned wins in "ineffective and brief" outings since 2000, and just this year Chad Qualls and Kameron Loe did. Loe was followed by two relievers who threw scoreless innings, and Qualls was followed by one.

Of course, the pitcher who followed Qualls was Jonathan Papelbon, who earned the save, and that's actually probably what he preferred. Pitcher wins probably don't matter a whole lot to you, but pitcher wins for relievers don't matter a whole lot to anybody, up to and including the relievers. Trevor Hoffman had a career losing record, and so did Bruce Sutter, and so did Rollie Fingers, and nobody cares.

What's great about this rule is that, just as you think pitcher wins are deeply flawed, Rule 10.17(c) also thinks that pitcher wins are deeply flawed, and offers a correction to the flaw. What's not great about the rule is that it's just insane, in spirit and implementation. The scorer can only award the win to a reliever who pitched subsequently; he can't give it to, say, a starter who pitched well, even though the spirit of the rule is clearly to reward a strong performance instead of a weaker one. Despite it being a rule, in the rule book—"shall not credit"—it isn't anywhere near uniformly enforced, just because. As a rule, it generally runs against the standards of the larger pitcher-wins standards, which usually remove subjectivity from the decision. But perhaps the weirdest thing is that baseball's rule book still has all these words and clauses to govern the awarding of a thing that, so far as I can tell, doesn't matter to anybody. 

Jerry Blevins is now 4-0. Ryan Cook remains 4-2. 

H/T to James, who I'm pretty sure has Ryan Cook on his fantasy team. 

 

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bears first-round pick Leonard Floyd carted off practice field

Report: Bills and Tyrod Taylor continue to talk extension

Report: Title contender planning to poach Curry from Warriors

Fitzpatrick on negotiations: I wouldn’t wish it on anybody

NBA players to fund health insurance for former players

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Geno Smith 'intent' on beating out Ryan Fitzpatrick

Greg Jennings: Ryan Tannehill has had his hands tied by coaches

Josh McDaniels 'happy' with Pats but wants to be a head coach again

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh in cleats throws out first pitch at Cubs game

Why Rickie Fowler will win the PGA Championship

Warren Sapp bitten on arm by shark

Six potential landing spots for Nick Foles

Royals want to package Ian Kennedy, Wade Davis in trades

Jack Nicklaus puzzled by Tiger Woods' woes, golf absence

Brown responds to Marshall's high-stakes challenge

Seven most mind-boggling NFL contracts of 2016

Is Jackie Bradley Jr. the Red Sox’s MVP?

Did Joey Votto reject kid who asked for his batting gloves?

Rams got it right releasing Nick Foles, trusting Jared Goff

Report: Ravens WR Mike Wallace failed conditioning test

WATCH: Kobe Bryant drives Ferrari around Italian racetrack

Terrelle Pryor shouts out Ohio State after ban ends

Justin Timberlake advocates for Memphis to join Big 12

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker