When a pitcher is removed, he is responsible for the number of runners N that he left on base when exiting. However, is he responsible for the next N runs in that inning? So, consider the following situation and sequences of plays

  1. P1 leaves the game with 1 out in an inning and the bases loaded with A, B, and C (hence, all are P1's responsibility).
  2. P2 enters the game and gives up a single to D, scoring A, while B and C move up to 3rd and 2nd, respectively.
  3. P2 gets a force out at home of B against E (who advances to 1st), with C and D moving up to 3rd and 2nd, respectively.
  4. P2 gives up a single to F, which scores C and D, and E moves up to 2nd.
  1. P2 strikes out G to end the inning.

My question is how many runs are assigned to P1 and P2? As I understand it, because P1 was responsible for B, the force out makes P1 responsible for E. However, that leads to the oddity of the bases being loaded where P1 is responsible for R3 (C) and R1 (E), while P2 is responsible for R2 (D). So, is the correct scoring actually that upon the force out in Play 3, the pitcher responsibility cycles backwards, meaning that D was originally the responsibility of P2, but now becomes the responsibility of P1, and E becomes the responsibility of P2? In this case, that would mean the assignment of runs is to be all 3 go to P1 and 0 go to P2?

1 Answer 1


Under MLB rules, P1 is charged with 2 runs and P2 with 1 run.

Rule 9.16(g) states

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.

Initially, P1 is responsible for A, B, and C, as they are on base when P2 enters the game.

When D gets a hit, A's run is charged to P1. P1 is still responsible for B and C, and P2 is responsible for D.

When E reaches base on the fielder's choice that puts B out, P1 takes responsibility for E, as well as keeping responsibility for C. P2 is still only responsible for D.

When F singles, C's run is charged to P1 and D's run is charged to P2. P1 is still responsible for E, and P2 is responsible for F.

Once the inning ends with G's strikeout, the book is closed on P1, who can no longer be held responsible for any future runs.

In the end, P1 is charged with 2 runs (A and C) and P2 is charged with 1 run (D). E, while P1's responsibility, never scored.

(Note that your scenario is very similar to Comment (3) on Rule 9.16(g).)

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