When Grantland Rice wrote “When the One Great Scorer comes, to write against your name,” he must have meant the Elias Sports Bureau.
The statistics gurus there advised the official scorers for Game 7 of the World Series that the victory they initially credited to Madison Bumgarner should be changed to a save. The victory was ultimately credited to Jeremy Affeldt, the pitcher of record when the San Francisco Giants scored the go-ahead run in the fourth inning. The scorers rendered the final decision 50 minutes after the final out.
Bumgarner, named the MVP of the Series, did set a record with his five-inning stint, as it became the longest save in World Series history.
Rule 10.17 in the baseball rule book states: “The official scorer shall credit as the winning pitcher that pitcher whose team assumes a lead while such pitcher is in the game, or during the inning on offense in which such pitcher is removed from the game, and does not relinquish such lead, unless such pitcher is a starting pitcher and Rule 10.17(b) applies.”
Rule 10.17 (b) states: “If the pitcher whose team assumes a lead while such pitcher is in the game, or during the inning on offense in which such pitcher is removed from the game, and does not relinquish such lead, is a starting pitcher who has not completed (1) five innings of a game that lasts six or more innings on defense, or (2) four innings of a game that lasts five innings on defense, then the official scorer shall credit as the winning pitcher the relief pitcher, if there is only one relief pitcher, or the relief pitcher who, in the official scorer’s judgment was the most effective, if there is more than one relief pitcher”
Affeldt relieved starting pitcher Tim Hudson in the second inning and threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
The previous longest save in the World Series since 1969, when that statistic became official, was by lefty Steve Howe, whose 3 2/3 innings in the sixth game of 1981, helped give the Los Angeles Dodgers their victory over the New York Yankees. Before the statistics became official, Philadelphia Athletics ace Lefty Grove threw 4 1/3 innings in Game 2 in 1929 against the Chicago Cubs.
The only pitcher other than Bumgarner to record two wins and a save in a World Series was Rawly Eastwick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 against the Boston Red Sox. Affeldt is on the verge of a record of his own; he has hurled 22-straight scoreless innings in the postseason. Yankee Mariano Riveraholds the current record at 23 consecutive scoreless innings.
Affeldt, who boasts a 2-0 record with an 0.86 ERA in 33 postseason games, has now been part of all three of San Francisco’s World Series winners in the past five seasons. He was grateful for the third victory, enthusing, “It means a lot to me. My three boys now all get to have rings on their finger and I’m very happy about that.”
Manager Bruce Bochy was blown away by Affeldt’s performance, saying, “He’s incredible on what he did. We talked to Jeremy about his role today. These guys are so unselfish. They don’t care. They’ll pitch anytime. He was all in on how we were going to use him and pretty amazing numbers that he has throughout this postseason. Because of him, he’s played a critical role in these three championships.”