Why Rick Porcello was charged with Sunday’s loss
I’ve received several questions since Sunday’s loss asking why Porcello was charged with it, since the go-ahead run was a baserunner (Alexi Casilla) that Phil Coke put on with a base hit (Danny Valencia’s single before Casilla pinch-ran for him). It’s a question that takes way more than 140 characters to explain, but even explaining the concept in plain language isn’t easy. So to the answer the question, I dug into the Official Baseball Rules and found the rule that applies. It’s Rule 10.16(g):
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 has 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 a comment attached to Rule 10.16(g) that better explains the situation that unfolded on Sunday:
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).
There is a example included that is very similar to the situation Porcello and Coke had yesterday. Even though the reliever put a runner on, once the runner ahead of him (whom the starter put on) was retired on a fielder’s choice, that runner the reliever put on actually becomes charged to the starter if he later scores.
In other words, it’s about how many baserunners the starter had on when he left, not the specific runners. Otherwise, you would’ve had a situation Sunday where Casilla would’ve been Coke’s responsibility on second base, but Chris Snyder would’ve been Porcello’s responsibility on first base. The rule avoids a situation of having baserunners out of order in terms of which pitchers are responsibile for them.