A bogus stat in my book: Why do middle relievers get an unfair advantage with respect to era?

They do...can you tell me why?


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What is the "unfair advantage" that you're talking about? I can't really answer the question unless I know what you think it is.

In general, though, ERA is a rather poor stat to use when evaluating relief pitchers, particularly those who only come in for a batter or two. The stat works best for pitchers who throw complete innings - starters primarily, though most closers also throw full innings. If you're in for a batter or two, your ERA doesn't get dinged if you allow an inherited runner to score but it does go up if you're taken out and a runner you allowed scores on a later pitcher. Better stats for relievers are OBA (On-Base Against) for general skills and IRA (inherited runs allowed) to show how they do in critical situations.

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The best stats for middle relievers are WHIP and Holds. ERA doesn't take into consideration the runners they inherit. There are stats about inherited runners, but they aren't usually shown as a category anywhere. WHIP is much better as it tells how many base runners they allow per inning.

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ERA is a mathematical calculation, so I don't really see how it can be unfair. If you're speaking in regards to inherited runners and the fat that if they score the run goes to the pitcher that put them on base, I think that pefectly fine and it should be that way. You can't charge the relief pitcher for that run if he didn't put the guy on base. If those guys weren't on base, the relief pitcher probably wouldn't even be on the mound.

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It would be so verly helpful to those of us answering this quesiton if you had actually defined the "bogus stat". Since you haven't, we all have to guess.

So, here's my best asnwser, by way of a pure guess.

Your "bogus stat" doesn't apply to just middle relievers. It applies to closers as well, since closers don't always come into the game to start an inning.

Runners who are already on base when a pitching change is made are the responsibility of the pitcher who allowed them to reach base. Period. If one of them scores, that run is charged against the pitcher responsible for putting him on base. Always. In fact, there is a rule about which pitcher is responsible for the runner, depending upon how the runner reaches base, if the pitcher for whatever reason is replaced DURING the batter's plate appearance.

The role of the relief pitcher, when he comes into the game with at least one runner already on base, is to save that run for his teammate. That's why there are specific statistical categories that apply only to relief pitchers - first batter efficiency and inherited runners allowed or stranded.

To say that the relief pitcher should be charged an earned run for allowing another pitcher's runner to score is like saying that you are responsible for setting a curfew for your neighbour's child.

No matter which way you want to look at this, you're looking for 10.16 of the rulebook.

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