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SixIron
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Zero pitch save?

Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:45 pm

Hypothetical scenario:

2 outs in the top of the ninth with a runner on base. The home team is ahead by one run. The current pitcher is pulled and the closer comes in from the bullpen. Before throwing his first pitch, he successfully picks off the baserunner. Game over.

Does he qualify for a save?

Better yet, has it ever happened? A couple of minutes Googling didn't get me anywhere.
 
meanfriend
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Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:40 pm

I would think so. I think to qualify for a save, you must be in the game for 0.1 innings (one out). AFAIK it doesnt specify how that out must occur.

But by that logic, you could get the out with the old '1st base hides the ball in his glove' trick, and you could get the save without having even touched the ball :)

Man, I love the obscurity (and absurdity) of baseball minutae ...

edit: The official MLB definition of a save:

A save is credited to a pitcher who fulfills the following three conditions:

1. The pitcher is the last pitcher in a game won by his team;

2. The pitcher is not the winning pitcher (for instance, if a starting pitcher throws a complete game win or, alternatively, if the pitcher gets a blown save and then his team scores a winning run while he is the pitcher of record, sometimes known as a "vulture win");

3. The pitcher fulfills at least one of the following three conditions:

a. He comes into the game with a lead of no more than three runs, and pitches at least one full inning.
b. He comes into the game with the potential tying run being either on base, at bat, or on deck.
c. He pitches effectively for at least 3 innings after entering the game with a lead.


In your scenario, he meets condition 1, 2, and 3.b , so he gets the save.
 
idchafee
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Thu Aug 31, 2006 4:57 pm

There was a game waaay back in the day. babe Ruth was pitching, IIRC. Anyway, the starter walked the leadoff guy and gets kicked out of the game for arguing. The reliever comes in, the runner gets caught stealing (basically the same as picked off). The reliever then goes on to set the rest of the game down in order. I believe that happened and the reliever got credit for a perfect game.

edit:

http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseball ... .stm#day23

In the first of two games at Boston, Babe Ruth starts for the Red Sox and walks the leadoff man, griping to plate umpire Brick Owens after each pitch. On ball 4, Ruth plants a right to the umpire's jaw and is ejected. Ernie Shore hastily relieves. The runner Ray Morgan is then caught stealing, and Shore retires all 26 men he faces in a 4–0 win, getting credit in the books for a perfect game


If that's possible, I see no reason why your save wouldn't be. I thought that someone once won an All Star game without throwing a pitch, but my google skills fail me.
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meanfriend
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Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:56 pm

Hmm... So really the definition of a perfect game doesn’t mean that zero batters reached base, which clearly happened in this example? I would have thought that as soon as the lead-off batter walked, any possibility of a PG for any pitcher was gone. Would it have still been a PG if the lead-off reached base on a hit instead of a BB? I guess the reasoning here is that the reliever got credit for the PG because he retired 27 in a row as the pitcher of record in a 9 inning game and the other team didn’t score a run.

Then theoretically, a starter can load the bases with the first three batters before a reliever comes in. All three runners get caught in a triple steal to end the inning (unlikely, but possible). Reliever goes on to retire the next 24 batters and still gets credit for the perfect game?
 
meanfriend
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Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:04 pm

idchafee wrote:
I thought that someone once won an All Star game without throwing a pitch, but my google skills fail me.


google turned up this:
n the 1954 Allstar game.Dean Stone was brought in in the top of the 8th with the Nationals leading 9-8 with two out and Red Schoendienst on third. Before the first pitch Schoendienst tried to steal home. He was thrown out for third out. The ALO tied in the bottom of the 8th on a Larry Doby HR and a Nellie Fox bases loaded 2 run single. Vrigil Trucks pitched the 9th.
There was some debate in the press box if Stone deserved the victory. A pitcher's win can be voided if it is determined to be "Brief but ineffective". Stone's appearance was brief but it was effective..he got the third out without a run scoring. So he got the victory.


That's some weird happenings...
 
UberGerbil
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Re: Zero pitch save?

Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:12 pm

SixIron wrote:
Better yet, has it ever happened? A couple of minutes Googling didn't get me anywhere.
Don't know about ending a game, but BJ Ryan came in for Baltimore and did it to end the 7th inning against Detroit on May 1, 2003.

Note that a reliever can lose a game without throwing a pitch, by coming in with the bases loaded and balking in a run.

There's another weird way to end a game: if somebody bats out of order, it's an out. So it's possible for somebody to bat out of order and not get noticed until a new pitcher comes in, at which point the game is over (assuming the out-of-order batter got on base and there already were 2 outs).
 
Evan
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Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:25 pm

meanfriend wrote:
Hmm... So really the definition of a perfect game doesn’t mean that zero batters reached base, which clearly happened in this example?


It's always been my understanding that a perfect game has to be pitched in its entirety by one pitcher, so if a reliever comes in, it's not a perfect game anymore. According to the (presumably accurate) Wikipedia entry, a perfect game also requires that no opposition runner ever even reach first base safely. So, using the entry's examples, if a batter hits a not-quite-double and gets caught at second trying to get the extra base, it's not a perfect game, and likewise, if a batter/runner gets to first on an error, it's likewise not a perfect game even though the pitcher was not at fault, that is, barring the possibility that it was the pitcher himself who committed the error. The entry does mention that this is a revised definition, though, so apparently the restrictions in the past were more lax.

idchafee wrote:
There was a game waaay back in the day. babe Ruth was pitching, IIRC. Anyway, the starter walked the leadoff guy and gets kicked out of the game for arguing. The reliever comes in, the runner gets caught stealing (basically the same as picked off). The reliever then goes on to set the rest of the game down in order. I believe that happened and the reliever got credit for a perfect game.


This too is mentioned in the Wikipedia entry, and by the current definitions, simply counts as a no-hitter, not a perfect game, though it does explicitly state that, at the time, it was indeed called a perfect game for the reliever, Ernie Shore.

Interestingly, the number of perfect games pitched in the modern Major League era in the U.S. and in Japanese professional baseball is the same: 15.

UberGerbil wrote:
Note that a reliever can lose a game without throwing a pitch, by coming in with the bases loaded and balking in a run.


True, and another interesting bit of trivia, if I'm remembering the rules correctly, would be that the relieved pitcher would get the earned run (since he allowed the runner on base in the first place, assuming he didn't reach on a fielder error), while the reliever would lose the game with zero earned runs.
 
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Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:34 pm

Evan wrote:
[So, using the entry's examples, if a batter hits a not-quite-double and gets caught at second trying to get the extra base, it's not a perfect game

Because that's scored as a single, a putout by the second baseman (poss SS) and an assist by the outfielder who made the throw. It's not even a no-hitter, let alone a perfect game.
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Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:55 pm

just read through my 2001 copy of the MLB rules, unless its been changed that is a save
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Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:07 pm

Mitch Williams accomplished just that when he was a Cubbie, 1989 or 1990. It was against either the Expos or Pirates, I believe. The first basemen was playing behind the runner and broke in behind him. Mitch kind of bounced the throw to first and the tag was applied to end the game. The other team tried to claim that it was a balk, but the Cubbies prevailed.
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