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Month-later scoring change affects SF Giants starter's ERA by 3+ runs

Andrew Haynes
Anthony DeSclafani
Anthony DeSclafani / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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Anthony DeSclafani last pitched for the SF Giants on June 26.

Shortly thereafter, it was revealed that the right-handed starter had ankle inflammation and would have surgery to correct the issue - knocking him out for the rest of the season.

That was a big hit to the Giants' rotation plans; DeSclafani had re-signed with the team in the offseason after a bounce-back 2021 season in which he made 31 starts with a 3.17 ERA, and they were expecting something similar to help anchor the rotation that lost one of the top starting pitchers in the game, Kevin Gausman, to free agency.

Another big hit involving DeSclafani was that of a damaged ERA in what ended up his final start of the season.

In that June 26 start, the Giants were facing the lowly Cincinnati Reds in the midst of a stretch that saw the team lose 14 of 18 games and fall from three games out of first place in the NL West to 12.5 behind the leaders. DeSclafani, looking to bounce back from consecutive starts where he allowed five earned runs each, began the game with two solid innings.

In the third, however, Cincinnati's leadoff hitter reached base on a ground ball down the third base line that Evan Longoria threw away at first base on a somewhat-close play. DeSclafani retired the next two batters, but things got away from him and a total of seven runs crossed the plate in the inning, with the Giants' righty getting knocked out in the midst of the frame.

At the game, the leadoff grounder in that third inning was ruled a hit by the official scorer. With no error committed helping the Reds score their runs, all seven were considered earned against DeSclafani; he ended the game (and, as was announced later, his season) with a 9.95 ERA.

Scoring plays in MLB can be changed, though. As explained on MLB's official scoring changes page, either the official scorer changes their mind, the Elias Sports Bureau (the league's official statistician) reviews and makes a change, or the team or player can appeal the decision.

One change made all the difference in the inning for DeSclafani's stats

The entity that instigated the change doesn't appear to have been publicized, but on July 20 - nearly a month after the game in which it happened - a Twitter account that tracks the changes and helps explain them, @ScoringChanges, reported (with video) that the play was switched to an error on Longoria. Thanks to that, all seven runs in the inning became unearned against DeSclafani's record (had the play been made by Longoria, the thinking goes, it would have been an out; the next two batters were also retired, so no runs would have scored in the frame).

Subtracting seven earned runs dropped DeSclafani's ERA all the way down to 6.63, a change of 3.32. It's still not pretty, but it looks better than having allowed over one earned run per inning.

Hopefully DeSclafani is able to return fully healthy in 2023 and put this season behind him, but the improved ERA should help 2022 look slightly more palatable on the back of his baseball card.

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