America's Favorite Pastime

Nov 17, 2008

RAY: This came from a fellow named Harold Pressberg, who says this puzzler occurred to him after looking at the box score of a game between the Mets and the Cards. He was checking the stats for a certain relief pitcher of the Mets who came in at the start of the 7th inning.

Now when you look at the box score, it says things like Innings pitched, 1. Hits, 0. So he pitched an inning and allowed no hits. Runs, 1. Earned runs, 1. Strikeouts, 1. Bases on balls, 0.

So, in other words, he pitched one inning, and in doing so, he recorded 3 outs, gave up no hits or walks, and was still charged with an earned run.

How was this possible?
RAY: Here's the answer. It turns out he pitched the seventh inning and he did pretty much exactly that, he struck out a guy, didn't walk anybody, and didn't allow any runs in the seventh inning. In the eighth inning, he comes out, hits the first batter with a pitch. The manager takes him out and brings in another pitcher. That guy gives up a home run.

TOM: Oh.

RAY: The first pitcher gets charged with an earned run because he hit the batter. But because he didn't record any outs in the next inning, he didn't get charged with pitching part of an inning. According to the box score, he pitched one full inning.

Do we have a winner?

TOM: Our winner this week is Mike Young who listens these days via podcast in the Czech Republic.

RAY: Oh, so he must be very familiar with check engine light, right?

TOM: Anyway for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Mike gets a $26 gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at, with which he can get a copy of our latest book called, Ask Click and Clack.

RAY: Congratulations, Mike!

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