Guide to Scoring Baseball -- Eighth Inning

Christopher Swingley

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Top of the eighth

[ servais - hernandez ]

servais - hernandez

It's the top of the eighth inning and the Cardinals send Lance Painter back out to the mound to face the eighth batter in Jim Riggleman's lineup, Scott Servais. He's 2 for 3 in the game with a fly ball out and two singles. He swings at Painter's first offering and hits a a ball to right center field that drops in between the Cardinal outfielders. Servais jogs into first with a single.

To score this, we draw a line from home to where the ball was retrieved in right center field, draw his progress along the bases, and circle the 1B on the right side of his at-bat box. The image on the right shows most of the action from this half inning, starting with Servais' at-bat at the top. Remember that Servias is hitting in the eighth spot, so the third batter shown (Lance Johnson) is actually at the top of the card.

Next up is the pitcher's spot in the lineup. Since Steve Trachsel was replaced in the sixth inning with Terry Mulholland, the batter scheduled to hit is Mulholland. But Riggleman elects to replace Mulholland with a pinch hitter, Manny Alexander. Some scorers will write pitchers into the batting lineup even when they don't come up to bat, but I tend not to, so below Trachsel's name, I write Alexander, Manny, and indicate he's a pinch-hitter with ph, and 8 to show he entered in the eighth. I also draw a solid vertical line with x's on the ends on the left of the at-bat box to make it clear that Alexander is batting, not Trachsel (or Mulholland). I haven't shown the substitution, but you can consult the previous inning, or the complete scorecard to see what this should look like. Alexander's at-bat is the second one in the image on the right.

Alexander gets a strike and a ball, and then hits the 1 - 1 pitch to right center field for a single. On the play, Servais moves from first to second. In Alexander's box we write the pitches, draw a line from home to where the ball was fielded in right center, draw his path along the bases, and circle 1B for the single. In Servias' box, we move him from first to second and draw a little tail on the end to indicate he stopped there.

Two men on, no outs, but the Cardinals leading by four runs. Lance Johnson comes up to bat 0 - 4 with three fly ball outs and a ground out. It's been a rough day for Johnson and Cardinals manager LaRussa leaves Painter in to face Johnson. Johnson works the count full, and then hits a weak ground ball toward the hole at first base. McGwire gets the ball and tosses it to the pitcher covering first for the out. On the play, Servias moves from second to third, and Alexander moves into scoring position at second base.

If Johnson had been bunting, this would have been scored as a sacrifice bunt (SB 3-1) and his plate appearance wouldn't count as an at-bat. But he was swinging away, trying to get a hit, so it's an out, and an at-bat. It's scored 3-1, and we put a circled 1 in his box to show the out. In Servias' box, we draw a line from second to third. In Alexander's box we advance him from first to second. All this action is in dark red in the images on the right.

Next up is Jose Hernandez, 0 for 3 in the game with a walk and a run scored in the first inning. LaRussa has seen enough from Painter and walks to the mound to get him. John Frascatore comes in from the bullpen. We write his name below Painter in the pitcher section of the scorecard. There's only one out in the inning, so we write 8 1/3 to show when he enters. We also draw a horizontal line with x's at the ends along the top of Hernandez's box to show the pitching change.

Hernandez takes a ball, and then hits a ground ball to the shortstop. Alexander and Servais were already running, so Cardinals shortstop Ordaz elects to take the sure out at first base. He might have had Servias at home, but up by four runs, the Cardinals are willing to exchange a run for an out. The play is scored 6-3, and on the play Servias crosses home plate to score the third run for the Cubs. Alexander makes it to third. In Servias' box we draw a line from third to home and put a dot in the middle of the diamond to indicate the run scored. Alexander moved from second to third, so we draw this in his box.

The last consideration is whether to award Hernandez an RBI. The rule is that an RBI is awarded for every hit, sacrifice, ground out or fly ball out that results in a run. A batter doesn't get an RBI if a run scores on a double-play. So despite getting an out, we put a dot in the lower left corner of Hernandez's box for the RBI, and put a 2 with a circle around it for the second out. This action is in bright red in the images on the right.

[ cubs eighth, grace ]

cubs eighth, grace

The next batter in the inning is Mark Grace, 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored in the first inning. He's got a man on third and is looking to drive in the second run of the inning. He gets a first pitch strike from Frascatore, then a ball, and drives the third pitch to left field, where it is caught. Inning over. We score this F7, put a circled 3 in Grace's box, and draw a diagonal line in the lower right corner to separate the innings.

The Cubs scored 1 run on 2 base hits in the inning. They left 1 man on base. There were no Cardinal errors, and no strikeouts or walks in the inning. Cardinals leading by three runs, and only three outs left for the Cubs.

Bottom of the eighth

[ wengert substitution  ]

wengert substitution

In the top of the eighth, Jim Riggleman pinch hit for his pitcher in the ninth spot of the batting order, so he needs a new pitcher. He brings Don Wengert out from the bullpen to start the eighth inning. We write his name below Mulholland's in the pitcher section of the scorecard, put 8 in the inning column, and draw a horizontal line with x's at the ends at the top of the first batter in the inning, Delino Deshields.

In the image, you can see the substitution, as well as the next substitution later in the inning.

[ deshields - mcgwire ]

deshields - mcgwire

The Cardinals are back to the top of their lineup with Delino Deshields, 2 for 3 in the game with two singles. He came around to score in the Cardinals big five-run sixth inning. Deshields swings at the first pitch from the new Cub pitcher, hitting a ground ball to the first baseman Grace, who signals to the pitcher that he's got the out, touches the bag with his foot and records the first out unassisted.

This is the first ground ball put-out in the game that didn't involve more than one fielder. Most fly ball outs are unassisted (hopefully Major League baseball players can catch the ball without help!), so we don't need any special indication for those. For an unassisted ground ball out, we write the fielder's number, followed by a U. In this case (and for most unassisted put-outs) we write 3U. It was the first out in the inning, so we write a 1 with a circle around it.

Next up is Fernando Tatis, 0 for 3 with two strikeouts in the game. In the eighth, Wengert works the count to 2 - 2 and then throws a strike that fools Tatis, who doesn't even swing at the pitch. Tatis isn't having a good day at the plate. The called strikeout is written with a backwards K, and we put a 2 with a circle around it for the second out in the inning.

Single season home run record holder Mark McGwire stands in, two outs in the inning with no one on base. He's 1 for 2 with a walk. The count goes full, and rather than throw a strike for another home run, the pitcher throws off the plate and McGwire takes a ball for a walk. We draw a line from home to first and circle the BB to indicate McGwire's base-on-balls.

[ cards eighth, lankford ]

cards eighth, lankford

After the walk, Wengert is done on the mound, being replaced by Felix Heredia. Again, I wasn't keeping track of what side of the plate the batters hit from, but I suspect that LaRussa replaced Wengert to get a favorable pitching matchup, rather than because Wengert was losing his command. We write Felix Heredia in the next box below Wengert's name, and put 8 2/3 for the inning started. Heredia appears at the bottom of the image at the top of the page.

Ray Lankford up, one man on base, two outs. Lankford is 1 for three with two strikeouts. But his one hit was a three run home run that broke the game open for the Cardinals. In this inning, he hits the 2 - 2 pitch to center field, where it's caught for the third out of the inning.

We write F8 in Lankford's box, draw a 3 with a circle around it, and draw a diagonal line in the lower right corner of the box.

The inning is over. The Cardinals had 0 hits, 0 runs and left 1 man on base. The Cubs didn't commit any errors, got 1 strikeout and gave up 1 walk.

[ Page last updated 25-June-2005 ]