Last night, the San Francisco Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals by the score of 3-2 in Game 7 to win their third World Series championship in the past five years.
Madison Bumgarner finished off the game with five scoreless innings on two day’s rest, cementing his status as the World Series MVP.
If you were watching, you might remember Joe Buck mentioned that the official scorer had sent word that Bumgarner would receive credit for the win. And for almost an hour, Bumgarner did have a 3-0 record in the 2014 World Series.
But as Benjamin Hoffman noted in the New York Times, that’s not what history will actually record.
Jeremy Affeldt, the pitcher of record at the time the Giants took their 3-2 lead, ultimately got the “W” by his name. Bumgarner instead received credit for the extremely rare five-inning save.
While the initial scoring decision seemed to comply with the provisions of Rule 10.17(b), the scoring panel decided that it was not consistent with the comment that follows in the rule book:
If two or more relief pitchers were similarly effective, the official scorer should give the presumption to the earlier pitcher as the winning pitcher.
In general, if a starting pitcher does not complete five innings, and the score is tied, a victory is assigned to the pitcher of record when the lead changed hands. The exception is when the scorer determines the reliever of record was ineffective.
While Bumgarner was more effective than Affeldt, it would be tough to argue that Affeldt was ineffective.
So if you kept score of last night’s game, you might need get out your eraser.