Home Keeping score BGB ‘Innings’ Scorecard

BGB ‘Innings’ Scorecard

by Matt Smith

Keeping Score Season

As part of our ongoing ‘Keeping Score Season’, we’ve produced two basic scorecards for you to download and use.  This is the first, a simple horizontal card following the traditional ‘one inning per column’ format.

You can download the scorecard here (pdf).  Read on for further details about its design and an example of a completed version recording the second game of the 2008 NLCS between the L.A. Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Design basics.

There are two sides to the scorecard, with one page each for the two batting lineups accompanied by the opposing pitchers’ details.  The standard ‘totals’ boxes are also present: batting totals (number of hits, at-bats etc) for every hitter, pitching totals (innings pitched, number of batters faced etc) for every pitcher, inning totals (runs scored, number of hits etc), and the proof box. This type of scorecard can be used for a ‘plate appearance outcome-only’ approach or for a ‘base progression’ scoring system, as detailed in the BBfB.

Let’s take a look at a completed example, scored on a slightly earlier version of the scorecard.

The game: 10 October 2008 – Dodgers versus Phillies (pdf)

The Dodgers, as the road team, batted in the top half of every inning, so we’ll look at that side of the scorecard first.  In terms of interesting plays recorded, the fourth inning is the best one to focus on.  The inning started with a Casey Blake single, only for Jeff Kent (replacing the pitcher Chad Billingsley in the ninth batting spot) to hit into a double play to leave the pitcher Brett Myers needing one more out to end the inning.  He should have had it with Rafael Furcal, but the Dodgers’ shortstop was able to reach base on an unusual play.

Furcal actually struck out swinging, but the third strike came on a wild pitch by Myers that the catcher Carlos Ruiz was unable to handle.  In this situation, the catcher has to throw the ball to first base to complete the out, while the batter can sprint down the line to try and beat the throw.  Furcal successfully reached first base before Ruiz’s throw got there, so he was not out.  As you’ll see from the notation, Furcal’s position at first base is accounted for by the WP (wild pitch), but below this I have written a ‘K’ in brackets.  This not only shows what happened on the play in more detail than ‘WP’ on its own would have done, but most importantly it records the fact that it still counts as a strikeout for the pitcher.

As so often seems to be the case when a fielding team blows the chance to get out of an inning, Furcal’s hustle down the line proved to be the start of a two-out rally by the Dodgers, capped by Manny Ramirez’s three-run bomb.

Flipping the sheet over to the Phillies’ batting card shows that those three runs brought the Dodgers back into a game that they looked like they were already out of.  The second and third innings were a complete disaster for the Dodgers, with the Phillies sending nineteen players to the plate and the road team making three pitching changes.  All nine members of the Phillies’ batting lineup came up to bat in the second and they batted around in the third, requiring me to extend my notes on to another column.

Chase Utley was walked four times ahead of Ryan Howard, who was unable to take advantage of having runners on base.  The man who did the damage was the pitcher Myers.  He went three for three while driving home three runs and coming around to score twice himself.  Looking at my scorecard immediately reminds me of the smile on Myers’ face every time he stood at first base after collecting another unlikely single.

General comments on using this scorecard

This example reveals the one minor downside to the ‘one inning per column’ approach, namely that things can get a little confusing if an inning lasts for more than nine batters.  It doesn’t pose too big a problem when you are scoring because you can simply continue the inning on to the next column, with an arrow to highlight this fact (above Burrell’s third at-bat, in this case), and then re-number each of the columns from then on.  However, it does make the scorecard look a little less tidy.

The other BaseballGB scorecard that we will look at on Monday uses what I call the ‘grid’ layout, where each box is numbered and you start a new inning by drawing a line at the top of the relevant box.  This layout makes it easier to quickly recall how an individual batter has performed over the course of his plate appearances (because they are grouped together), but doesn’t immediately reveal how each inning panned out quite so well as the ‘innings based’ scorecard.

The other advantage with the ‘grid’ layout is that it provides a clearer reference number for each plate appearance that you can use to specifically note down a player substitution or tactical change (i.e. a new batter, a player changing fielding position or when a pitcher joins the game).

I used a —-NP—– symbol at the top of the relevant batter’s square to show when a new pitcher entered the game and you can then check this against the list of opposing pitchers to reveal which one it relates to.

Noting when a new batter comes into the game is straightforward because you simply put down the relevant inning.  So, on the Phillies’ batting scorecard the plate appearances for the fifth batting position were shared by Burrell and Bruntlett.  As Burrell came into the game in the first inning (1) and Bruntlett came into the game in the eighth (8), we can clearly see that the first four plate appearances relate to Burrell and the fifth to Bruntlett.

Where it gets more complicated is in trying to note down fielding changes, particularly when a batter enters the game as a pinch-hitter.  The Dodgers’ batting scorecard shows this quite well.  In the seventh batting spot, Nomar Garciaparra came into the game as a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh inning and then played at third base when the Phillies came to bat.  If you look at the row below this, you’ll see that Casey Blake was playing third base and there is no note to say that he had come out of the game.  In fact, he was taken out of the game and his spot in the lineup was given over to the Dodgers’ pitchers from then on, although neither Kershaw or Wade came up to bat.

So there are a few ‘information gaps’ in this example, but bear in mind that I was keeping score purely as a fan.  This isn’t the official account of the game; you can choose how much information you want to record based on what interests you.  In this case, I wasn’t overly fussed at noting down all the fielding changes.

The ‘Game Notes’ box can be used for whatever purpose you wish.  I used it to record a couple of instances where the ‘double switch’ was used, something that you see in the National League because the pitcher has to hit.

If you have any comments about the scorecard, please send them on via the box below.

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