Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Scoring Self-Indulgence, pt. 8: Substitutions and Miscellany

I’ve covered most of the on-field events that I record on my scoresheet; the only major area of keeping a scoresheet remaining is how to record substitutions.

Focusing first on position players, the four types of substitution/switches that can occur are:
1. pinch-hitting
2. pinch-running
3. defensive replacement
4. defensive position switch

The first principle of my system for tracking these is that all substitutions are assumed to occur at the start of the inning unless otherwise noted, except for pinch-runners. They are assumed to enter the game as soon as the player they replace reached base unless otherwise noted. If a player enters the game while his team is batting, he is assumed to be a pinch-hitter unless otherwise noted.

The point at which the substitute enters the game is noted pretty simply, by writing his name below the starter’s name in the appropriate box followed by a notation like “v7” (bottom of the seventh) or “^4” (top of the fourth). In the past, I would have rendered those as “B7” and “T4” respectively, but I started using carrots a couple years ago when I moved to have less letters and more symbols on my sheets. Either way, the meaning is easy to decipher.

If the replacement is a pinch-runner (and he comes into the game as soon as the original player reached base), then the prefix “PR” is used; “PR Jones ^8” means, obviously, that Jones pinch-ran in
the top of the eighth.

For defensive replacements, there is no position recorded for the new player if it is the same as the old one. If the starter was “6 Peralta” (that is, shortstop Peralta) and he is replaced by defensive replacement McDonald in the bottom of the seventh, I’d simply write “McDonald v7”. If the replacement is at a different position than the man he replaced, then the position is written in front, i.e. “4 McDonald v7” if McDonald is playing second base.

With respect to defensive position switches, suppose that Gerut begins the game in center field and then moves to left in the top of the sixth. The initial lineup would read “8 Gerut” of course; the switch will be noted by simply writing “7 ^6” wherever it will fit, preferably next to the original position/name but if not then on the next line below.

Mid-inning switches are fairly straightforward, although a little trickier. For pinch runners, suppose that in the top of the ninth, the #4 batter reaches base, then moves to third on the actions of the #5 hitter, and then is removed for a pinch-runner as the #6 batter comes to the plate. The notation I would use is “PR Jones 6-9”. In this case, 6 is the lineup slot at the plate at the time the substitution is made and 9 indicates the inning. It is not necessary to indicate whether it is the top or bottom of the inning, as the pinch-runner notation makes it clear that it must be his team’s batting half. Of course, this applies to the original PR notation as well, for which I do note the inning-half, but I drop that detail here because the extra number and dash will already be cluttering things up.

The use of the “lineup slot-inning” format may seem a little backwards since the inning is the more important distinguishing factor of when the substitution takes place, but it is derived from the orientation of the scoresheet and considering it as I would a spreadsheet. The lineup slots represent the rows down the vertical of the page, while the innings represent the columns along the horizontal. It is natural for me to put the vertical first, I guess.

For a mid-inning defensive replacement, it is necessary to record the half of the inning, because otherwise it could be confused with a pinch-hitter. For example, if Branson comes in to play third in the bottom of the third with the #8 hitter at the plate, directly replacing the previous third baseman in the batting order, I’d writer “Branson 8v3”.
The exception would come if the substitute went into a different lineup slot, replacing a player at a different position. In that case, I could just write “5 Branson 8-3”, with the notation of the new position demonstrating that this is a defensive replacement and not a pinch-hitting situation. The same rule applies to any defensive pitching switches.

If a substitution occurs between pitches of a plate appearance, then a little more finesse is required. The notation takes the form “Ax”, where x is the last pitch thrown before the substitution is made. If there is a pinch-hitter after the second pitch to the #8 batter in the top of the ninth, the replacement could be recorded as “Harris 8v9 (AB)”. Similar notation is used for pinch-runners and defensive replacements; again, it’s unnecessary to record which half of the inning it is for pinch-runners or defensive position switches.

If a player is ejected, I write “EJ 3^7” or something similar; this would indicate that the player was ejected, with the first PA he was not eligible for being that of the #3 hitter in the top of the seventh. If he was ejected at the end of an inning/between innings, the notation could just be “EJ v7”.

Pitcher substitutions are recorded in the box for pitchers similarly to how position player substitutions are recorded. The exception is that a pitcher brought on to start an inning is noted simply with the inning number; there’s no need to distinguish between top and bottom. Any changes in the batting order status of the pitcher are recorded in the appropriate box, not in the pitcher section of the scoresheet.

So if Huff starts the game, is relieved by Sipp to start the seventh, then by Herrmann to face the #8 batter in the seventh, the pitchers box would read: “Huff, Sipp 7, Herrmann 8-7”.

If the game goes into extra innings and I have to move onto another scoresheet, I recopy the lineup as it is when the game goes to extra innings. This can include some odd-looking notations, like players at positions they don’t actually play if they pinch-hit or pinch-ran, but doing it this way allows for one to see that the defense was reshuffled at that point. That way the change that occurs for the tenth inning can be marked on the new extra-inning scoresheet rather than on the sheet used for innings 1-9. If the pitcher that finished the ninth stays in for the tenth, I put his name in brackets just to avoid any confusion with the starting pitcher, who is also not listed with any entry point (ex. [Wilson]).

Some other assorted miscellany in no particular order:

* If a team bats around, I just move over to the next column. From then on, instead of using the lineup slot to refer the reader of the sheet back to the appropriate scorebox, I add an “A” at the end. So if a team bats around and the tenth batter is the #7 hitter, his box is now referred to as “7A”. If for some reason the inning keeps going, the scorebox for his third PA of the inning would be “7B”.

* If a batter’s PA ends prematurely due to an out on base or the end of the game (with a run scoring on a not in-play event), I write “IE” for inning ended across the box, and make the inning ending slash so that it will be clear that the next inning beings with his PA:



* At the end of each inning I record a basic line score for the inning in the inning header. This takes the form R-H-W-LOB. Above it, I record the number of pitches thrown in the inning by the starting pitcher and his running pitch count for the game. When he exits, I stop recording pitch counts. So, if a team scores a run on a hit with no walks and no one left on in the second inning, with the pitcher making 17 pitches after making 8 in the first inning, the inning header would look like this:



When the pitcher is finished, the last updated cumulative pitch count is indicated by a dash between the final inning pitch count and the game total.

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