Originally written on Baseball Prospectus  |  Last updated 7/28/12
Picimg_mlb_apr_15_6985

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

Arizona Cardinals make Jen Welter first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Junior Seau family says Hall of Fame went back on its word

Kobe will probably see time at power forward next year

Angels acquire Shane Victorino from the Red Sox

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Clemson's Swinney wants Notre Dame in a conference

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel as Browns starter

David Price won't rule out Red Sox despite testy past

Bullying victim Jonathan Martin retiring from NFL

Why Jay Gruden may lose job if he can’t fix Robert Griffin III

Report: T.Y. Hilton wants similar contract to Dez Bryant

Troy Tulowitzki, the Blue Jays, and upgrading strengths

Nick Saban has incredible advice for his players on chasing girls

Nik Stauskas trolls Thad Matta

Will Smith fires back at former teammate Junior Galette

Sammy Watkins: It's a "problem" if Bills don't win AFC East

The most important quarterback in the game?

Boston Mayor Walsh refusing to sign Olympic host contract

Chris Johnson accused of smashing up Rolls-Royce rental

Astros’ playoff push prompts rescheduling of Taylor Swift

Answering the AFC East's biggest questions in 2015

Bryant in 'financial distress' before signing new deal

College football's top 10 coaches on the hot seat for 2015

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

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Kobe to see time at power forward next year

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel

Galette appears to unload on Payton

Dez Bryant in 'financial distress' before signing new deal

Top 10 CFB coaches on the hot seat

Was Popovich close to retiring last year?

Kyle Busch continues historic run with Brickyard win

WATCH: Mike Trout HR lands in 'Trout Net'

With Cueto dealt, what's the market for other pitchers?

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