Guide to Scoring Baseball -- Ninth Inning

Christopher Swingley

Top of the ninth

[ acevedo substitution  ]

acevedo substitution

It's the top of the ninth and with the Cardinals leading 6 - 3, the Cubs are down to their final three outs. The Cardinals start the inning with pitcher Juan Acevedo, replacing John Frascatore who got the final two outs in the eighth inning. We write Juan Acevedo in the pitcher's box below Frascatore, put a 9 in the inning column, and draw a solid line at the top of the box of the first Cub batter, Sammy Sosa. Small x's on the ends of the line make the pitching change more obvious.

[ sosa - hill ]

sosa - hill

The first batter is Sammy Sosa, who hasn't hit any home runs in the game, and has thus far failed to match McGwire. Acevedo gets to a count of 2 - 2, Sammy fouls off the fifth pitch, and then swings and misses at a pitch down at his shoes. Strikeout swinging. Sosa is out with a K and we indicate the out with a circled 1.

Next up is big Glenallen Hill, 1 for 3 on the day with a single in his last at-bat in the seventh inning. In this at-bat, he swings at the first pitch from Acevedo, driving it to the wall in alley in left center field. The center fielder sprints to the ball and throws in to third. Hill is in scoring position at second base, his team down by three runs.

Hill gets a double, so we draw a line from home to second, putting a small tail at second base to show his progress on the basepaths. We circle the 2B for the double.

[ gaetti - merced ]

gaetti - merced

Gary Gaetti stands in with a man in scoring position at second base. Down by three runs, Gaetti needs to get on-base. He's had a good day, 2 - 3 with a walk and a strikeout. His first hit was an RBI single in the first inning. Like Hill, he swings at the first pitch, and hits it to left field where it's caught by J.D. Drew. Not a good effort from Gaetti at all. He should have taken at least one pitch (even a strike) in an effort to get on base. Instead, it's a completely unproductive out. The Cubs are now down to their last out.

Hill is still standing at second base, so we don't need to write anything in his box. Gaetti's at-bat shows F7 and a 2 with a circle around it in the lower left of his box for the second out.

[ merced substitution  ]

merced substitution

Jim Riggleman's last move is to replace second baseman Jason Maxwell with pinch hitter Orlando Merced. We don't have any room left on the scorecard after all the substitutions in the seventh position on the lineup card, so we write Orlando Merced in the margins and put (ph / 9) to indicate when he came into the game. We also draw a vertical line along the left side of Merced's at-bat box with x's at the ends to make it clear that this at-bat belongs to Merced, not Maxwell. We could also write Merced's name in one of the empty lineup positions at the bottom of the scorecard, but I think it's actually clearer in the margins. If you're going to total up every player's statistics to build a box score, it's probably better to write him in at the bottom so you can use the statistics columns on the right side of the card.

Merced seems to understand the situation, and works the count full before fouling off the sixth pitch from Acevedo. He hits the seventh pitch to the third baseman, who rifles the ball to McGwire at first for the final out of the game.

The play is scored 5-3, and we indicate the final out with a circled 3.

The Cubs got 0 runs on 1 hit, leaving 1 man on-base. There were no Cardinal errors, 1 strikeout and 0 walks.

Final score, Cardinals 6, Cubs 3. I will detail how we fill out the rest of the scorecard in the next section, but the final totals follow. The Cubs got 3 runs, 12 hits and left a whopping 13 men on base. There were 0 Cardinal errors. The Cardinals scored 6 runs on 5 hits, and left 3 men on base. The Cubs committed 1 error.

[ Page last updated 27-June-2005 ]