History no longer reflects that Yu Darvish came within one out of a no-hitter in his most recent start Friday.
Major League Baseball, as it does on occasion, has changed a scoring ruling made in the seventh inning of the Texas Rangers 8-0 victory against the Boston Red Sox at Globe Life Park. Instead of an error on outfielder Alex Rios on a pop fly hit by David Ortiz, the record book says that Ortiz gets credit for a single. Rios and infielder Rougned Odor miscommunicated on the play and neither touched the ball before it dropped between them in short right field. Odor appeared to come closest.
Later on with two outs in the ninth and Darvish on the verge of a no-no — so everyone thought — Ortiz singled through the Rangers defensive shift to break up a historic moment. Again, so we thought.
The change is moot because Ortiz broke up the no-hit bid in the ninth inning anyway, making it easier for MLB to change the call, even if official scorer Steve Weller made the right decision. He did.
The change is still useful for a discussion. Now, the rulebook does include language allowing the official scorer to give a player an error on a play like that:
Regardless, 99 out of 100, or perhaps 999 times out of a thousand, a play like that will be called a hit because no physical error was made. The lone exception happens when a no-hitter or something like it, is at stake. Official scoring always has been a dubious part of record-keeping in MLB. Making judgments is tricky and, perhaps, wrong. Should a court reporter add personal commentary to a murder trial?
Anyway, MLB probably did the right thing by changing the ruling. Would the league have done the same thing if Darvish had retired Ortiz in the ninth inning? Would it really take away Yu's no-no? Possibly. Back in 1991 when Fay Vincent was commissioner, MLB wiped out a bunch of "no-hitters" that either didn't go nine innings or were broken up after the ninth. That's a different angle, though. There's no way to know for sure, but it's a good bet MLB would look the other way for the sake of Darvish making history.
One makeshift solution for situations like this: Create a team error statistic. Of course, that's still a judgment of another kind.
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