The entertaining absurdity of baseball rules

When mythical wife showed me a picture of the score of this game, my jaw kind of dropped.  It turns out that 29 runs is some sort of National League record, that I don’t really have the motivation to look up the finer details of.  All I know it’s not better than the 30-3 thrashing that the Texas Rangers dropped on the Baltimore Orioles some time ago, and doesn’t quite erase the stink of the 20-2 drubbing the Yankees dropped on the Braves in Turner Field’s final season.

But anyway, of course I’m entertained generally pleased by any Braves win, but it’s not the 29 runs scored that amused me the most, or the seven home runs they clubbed en route to their scoring barrage.  No, a nerd like me finds amusement in other parts of the box score, like the fact that the starting pitcher for the Braves, Tommy Milone, didn’t get the win for a game in which his offense dropped 29 runs on the opposition.

In fact, as satisfied as I am any time I see a W for the Braves, it’s actually very much a bad and concerning thing that Tommy Milone allowed eight runs to the Marlins.  It’s not every day that the Braves are going to score 29 runs, much less ten runs, much less five.  But lost in the pandemonium of the Braves blowing up on the Marlins is the fact that their own starter was pretty abysmal in his own right, and he absolutely did not deserve to get the win in this game, and I think the Braves did the usual Barves thing during the trade deadline, and went after a jobber like Milone to fill in their pitching rotation, instead of going after a starting pitcher that could really fortify their chances to capitalize on the short season.

Instead, the win goes to Grant Dayton, a reliever that I’ve never heard of which isn’t difficult considering how far off the baseball radar I’ve dropped off, but anyway, he gets the win, solely based on the rules of Major League Baseball which states that the pitcher on the mound while the team has the lead and finishes out the 5th inning, is the guy eligible for the win.

Basically, this is the equivalent of going into arcade, walking up to the six-player X-Men arcade game, where five other players are at Magneto, he’s already blinking red and close to death, and jumping in as Dazzler because nobody ever played Dazzler, hitting him once with your mutant power blast, and taking credit for beating Magneto.

That’s basically what Grant Dayton did.  By no fault of his own, of course though.  Tommy Milone sunk $7 worth of quarters into X-Men and stunk up the joint getting past the Blob, Juggernaut, Wendigo and White Queen, and needed a bunch of people to come carry him through the rest of the game, with Dayton getting the credit for beating the game.

But I think my favorite anomaly of the game was the fact that reliever Bryse Wilson was credited with a save, in a game where the winning team won by 20 runs.  The save rule is one of those things that really chaps the asses of the Keith Laws (aka snarky internet baseball stat geeks) of the internet, that undoubtedly was created in order to help negotiate leverage for relief pitchers in salary negotiations, and this is a prime example of when it’s at its most absurd.

Pitchers earn saves by two ways: either pitching the final out(s) of a game where the difference of score is three or less, or like in the case of Wilson, pitching the final three or more innings of a game while protecting the lead, whether it’s one run, or like the Braves, 20 runs.  By virtue of pitching the last four innings of a 29-8 game, Wilson is credited with a save, because he totally saved that 21 run lead, and only gave up one run.

When the day is over, this is still just one win.  And considering I let a day lapse before writing about it, I’m fortunate that the Braves beat the Nationals last night, to keep the winning streak alive, because fewer things tarnish a good night like against the Marlins, than losing the very next game.

As entertaining as a 29-9 win can look, it doesn’t change any optimism or raise any hopes that THIS IS THE YEAR for the Braves, even in spite of the wonky short season we’re still being subject to, with cardboard fans and artificial crowd noise.  The Braves basically have no starting pitching, and despite their optimal playoff positioning right now, the playoffs are when there’s a good starting pitcher every game, and it’ll only exploit the Braves’ usual cheapskate ways all over again.

I know this is the year where I can personally put the baby luck to the test, but this household has fans of two teams now, and the Yankees of all teams, are that other one.  But I’d still set both our teams aside for some goofy looking World Series pairing, and the way it stands now, the San Diego Padres look like they’re trying really hard to be one of them, and fewer pairings would seem more odd than a Padres vs. Rays World Series.

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