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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

April 17, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Why Jakubauskas got the loss

I’ve gotten numerous e-mails from people claiming that Chris Jakubauskas should not have been charged with the loss in Thursday’s 5-1 Angels’ victory.

Let’s recap what happened. The Mariners led 1-0 heading into the sixth. Jakubauskas gave up a single to Chone Figgins, got a fly ball for the first out, and allowed a single by Bobby Abreu that left runners on first and third.

At that point, Roy Corcoran replaced Jakubauskas. Corcoran got Torii Hunter to hit a grounder to third, and Adrian Beltre gunned down Figgins trying to score. And therein lies the confusion. As we all know, Corcoran self-destructed from that point, issuing a walk to Kendry Morales that loaded the bases, and a single by Mike Napoli that scored Abreu and Hunter (who reached first on the fielder’s choice that resulted in Figgins being thrown out at home) to give the Angels a 2-1 lead they never relinquished.

Some readers wondered, logically, why Jakubauskas was charged with two runs. After all, he left with two runners on base, and one of them was thrown out at the plate. They felt the go-ahead run — Hunter — should have been charged to Corcoran, since he was the one that put him on base.

But that’s not the way it worked. Official scorer Eric Radovich got it exactly right. I got out a rule book and found the operative rule: 10.16(g). Here’s how it reads:

When pitchers are changed during an inning, the official scorer shall not charge the relief pitcher with any run (earned or unearned) scored by a runner who was on base at the time such relief pitcher entered the game, nor for runs scored by any runner who reaches base on a fielder’s choice that puts out a runner left on base by any preceding pitcher.

There is also a footnote comment that reads: It is the intent of Rule 10.16(g) to charge each pitcher with the number of runners he put on base, rather than with the individual runners. When a pitcher puts runners on base and is relieved, such pitcher shall be charged with all runs subsequently scored up to and including the number of runners such pitcher left on base when such pitcher left the game, unless such runners are put out without action by the batter (i.e., caught stealing, picked off base or called out for interference when a batter-runner does not reach first base on the play).

Two thoughts: One, it’s amazing how the scorebook has an answer for virtually every contingency. And two, it makes sense, when you think about it. The reason Hunter was on first was because Beltre had to deal with the runners left by Jakubauskas. Corcoran should not be penalized for those runners, even the “replacement” runner necessitated by the need to put out Jakubauskas’s runner at the plate.

Hope that clears it up.

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