An Old Scoring Nemesis Rears Its Head

Chris Devenski: The Unofficial Winning Pitcher in 5-3 Astros Comeback

 

Houston 5 – Seattle 3 (13 innings) – Minute Maid Park – Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Astros Winning Pitcher: Brad Peacock (1-0)

Mariners Losing Pitcher: Chase De Jong (0-1)

 

I didn’t find out until about 7:15 AM this morning, Thursday, April 6, 2017. After battling another drowsiness-inspiring respiratory infection since Tuesday, I had hung with the game on ROOT through all of those earlier missed chances the Astros had to win this game, but simply could not curb either my frustration or desire to descend into coma sleep late in the game. I went to bed after Brad Peacock walked in the run that gave the Mariners a 3-2 lead. I also put the rest of the game on DVR so I could watch it, outcome unknown, once I awoke today. To the mirthful result of my early morning ecstasy over George Springer’s “one-strike-to-go” poke into the Crawford Boxes for a 5-3 Astros walk-off win, my thoughts jumped almost immediately to one of the flaws in our long-time system of awarding wins and losses in multiple pitcher games, which today, pretty much covers all of them.

Did Brad Peacock really deserve the win that was assigned to him for being the pitcher record by being the guy who was still in the game when the Astros won it suddenly in the bottom of an extra inning game? After all, he had walked in the run that had given Seattle their short-lived 3-2 lead. But he had also had inherited three base runners via walks from previous pitcher Jandel Gustave, who got nobody out in the time he was out there. Peacock then shut Seattle down after their one gift walked-in run. He struck out two and shut the gate on further scoring in the 13th. So, yeah, by current scoring rules and his own game performance, he deserves it.

a hypothetical

What hurts is to realize that, if this game had been a 0-0 tie game going into the 13th – and if Peacock had given up all three Seattle runs on six hits in this one same 13th inning – that a walk-off grand slam by Springer in the bottom of the 13th would have still given Peacock the win for being the pitcher of record when the deed was done.

In reality, under those hypothetical circumstances, had the Astros not rallied to take the lead, Peacock would have deserved the loss for the three runs he surrendered in the top half of the 13th. But what rationale supports him deserving the win, simply because the offense rallied? The answer is – none of common sense need apply. The win assignment rule for pitchers rests heavily upon the facts that it is another of those “rules that exist because we baseball rule-makers say it’s the rule.” It is an attempt to objectify pitching win assignments so that records are consistently measured the same over time from one era to the next.

I’m not really sure there’s anything effective that could be done to improve the rule without creating a system which would open the win assignment job to subjective assessment. In that case, people like this writer might have responded to both the real 5-3 Astros win and the hypothetical version in the same way. We might have given the win to Chris Devenski and, in the real game situation only, a save to Brad Peacock.

Here’s the box score. Please make any scoring changes you might make in the real game:

https://www.mlb.com/gameday/mariners-vs-astros/2017/04/05/490133#game_tab=box,game_state=final,game=490133

In the meanwhile, some of us will continue to do what we’ve been doing – taking win totals, particularly for relievers, with a grain of salt.

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

 

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5 Responses to “An Old Scoring Nemesis Rears Its Head”

  1. gregclucas Says:

    I agree that the official scorer (or the league office) should have the right to declare who gets credit for the win in cases like this…as well as in games where the starter fails to go five innings. (They DO make judgements on those games instead of automatically giving the win to the 1st reliever if the team is ahead, when the starter has not gone five.

    I would also like a stronger method for recognizing what Peacock did. He allowed a run, but he entered the game with the bases loaded and no outs. I agree that Devenski had more to do with the Astros ultimately winning the game, and while Peacock may not in reality deserve the win…he was an effective reliever in allowing only one run (not charged to him, of course) under the circumstances. A save would have been more fitting, but under current rules not an option.

  2. materene Says:

    Bill, are you sure you haven’t misspelled the losing pitchers last name ? I thought his name was Chase De Ball, I couldn’t help myself

  3. Larry Dierker Says:

    The save rule is arbitrary. Devenski was superb. Peacock did his job. Both should be rewarded– win and save. How’s that for arbitrary?

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      That’s my kind of arbitrary, Dierk. If the current rule awarding saves needs to be changed, the logic behind that change is already in place: If a pitcher can “save” his team while they are leading, he may also be able to do save them when his team is tied, behind, or about to get blown away by an offensive threat that could have been much worse, had they not been stopped by his performance.

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