Saturday, May 1, 2010

Errors vs. misplays

There were two failed defensive plays in Friday night's Twins-Indians game that resulted in six runs scoring.

Six runs that really shouldn't have scored, but are charged as earned runs anyway because the defensive players weren't charged with errors.

The first one came in the second inning, on what should have been a routine double play. Cleveland second baseman Luis Valbuena bounced his throw to first base, and first baseman Matt LaPorta didn't make the scoop. No error, but it kept the inning alive and brought home a run. Orlando Hudson followed with hits to chase home two more.

Then it was the Twins' turn. In the fifth inning, Mike Redmond hit a fly to right center, and Denard Span chased Michael Cuddyer off it. Redmond got a gift double. Kevin Slowey entered that inning with a shutout and a low pitch count; by the time he finally got out of it, he'd thrown more than 100 pitches and had given up three runs. Had Redmond's ball been caught, the inning would have been over much sooner, and without a run for Cleveland.

The traditional fielding stats make nothing of those misplays. Even the advanced metrics, as I understand them, don't penalize Valbuena for failing to turn that double play.

But they sure count on the scoreboard.

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