The Ole Ball Game

Why does the pitcher get 'all' the credit?

by Jim
(Phoenix, AZ)

Team Win

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Jim asked: In a TEAM sport, why does one player -- the pitcher -- get all the credit for a win or loss, or even a play?


How is a pitcher any different than a quarterback so that only the pitcher gets either the congrats or blame for either a win or loss?

I firmly believe that once the ball has left the pitcher's hand, the outcome is unknown. I've seen almost every kind of pitch hit for everything from a foul to a homerun.

Granted, there is statistical history, but there is also a degree of uncertainty. With any degree of uncertainty, why does the pitcher get credited with certainty?

Also, the play-by-play announcer for the team I follow (Go Diamondbacks!) almost always gives the pitcher the credit for getting a batter out when the pitcher had 'nothing' to do with the play (i.e., did not catch the pop-up or fly ball, did not do the throw to first for the force out, was not the fielder/baseman who tagged the runner out on way to first, etc.).

After a couple of innings (and for as long as that pitcher stays in), this announcer will say at the end of each inning, "Such-and-such pitcher has sat down the last so many batters" when there may have been a strikeout or two but the rest of the batters were out due to fielders &/or basemen. He has taken credit away from the players who actually 'did'/got the out and given it to the pitcher.
This seems to be common with play-by-play announcers.

Why do they credit the pitcher for anothers' work?

Especially in today's game where most of the fielders/basemen stay in for the entire game and pitchers can get switched/taken out rather frequently.

Am curious as to how this developed, and, the logic for keeping the status quo where pitchers get the credit.


Rick answered: Jim, thank you for your question.

Pitchers don't receive team statistical credit for
a game won, that goes to the team and becomes a part of their individual season record.

Pitchers receive an individual win, loss, save, etc., within their personal statistics, just as hitters receive individual credit for base hits, rbi's etc.

Within the game itself, and each team's structure, wins and losses seldom carry a personal positive or negative to one individual or another.

As players look back over any given game, there are always multiple factors that come together to either produce a win, or to create a loss.

It can be within a team, or sometimes the factors come from outside the team, from the opponents game that day. A pitcher who was just unhittable that day, or a defense that made a number of game saving plays, to an offense that just out hit you that day.

No one individual is ever entirely responsible for a team loss, nor are they entirely responsible for a team win.

When you hear the play by play announcers provide credit to a pitcher when a batter hits a ground ball, pops up, flies out, it is still shared credit. When hitters don't make solid contact, or a pitcher gets them off balance and they hit the ball weakly, that is the initial cause of the lack of contact, that eventually results in the recorded out by however many fielders participate in that particular play.

The out itself, is still a team out, only one of the 27 it will take to finish the ballgame.

All nine players in the lineup get statistical credit for plays in which they are physically involved, such as a 6-4-3 double play.

When the announcers say that a pitcher has set down so many hitters in a row, his comment is aimed at the fact that the pitcher has been making some good pitches and not giving up base hits. That string of hitters set down without hits or walks is a true measure the pitcher is on track; but teams and players all know a pitcher cannot do it all alone, nor can any other player.

In the game of baseball, you have three basic categories: Hitting, Pitching and Fielding.

On any given day, if you have all three going on, you will be pretty hard to beat.

If you have two going, you have a better than average chance to be successful.

If you have one going, it will be hard at best.

All 3 out of action and it's a long day at the yard.

Yours in baseball,

Rick


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