In the new era of speed-up baseball in extra innings, there seems to be a stat or two lost in the transition. If a ghost runner scores in extras, the run is not counted as an earned run but still a counts as a run scored.
So how do fans and perhaps managers keep track of the best shut down pitchers in extras, especially after their closers have come and gone? To solve this issue, I would propose Major League Baseball keeps a Ghost Runners Scored (GRS) and/or an Extra Innings Runs Average (EIRA).
Closers have been dealt a bad hand with ghost runners, including Astros’ Ryan Pressly, so how can we keep track of extra inning stats this season?
The Houston Astros had their first dip into extras against the Arizona Diamondbacks to close out the short, two-game series and immediately the ghost runner was the factor. Both the Astros and the Diamondbacks scored their ghost runners, however Ryan Pressly fared worse than Noé Ramirez.
According to the new stat categories, Ramirez would have a 1.00 for both GRS and EIRA, which would not be a good average. Pressly would hold a much worse EIRA, however, with a 2.00 and the same amount GRS.
The EIRA stat would be averaged by one inning, so anything under one would be allowing less than one ghost runner to score per extra inning pitched, whereas the GRS is a total.
It is clearly difficult to hold a runner from not scoring when they are on second with no outs, so pitchers with below one EIRA can hang their hats on keeping ghost runners at bay. To fully round out the stat categories, total extra innings pitched would be kept to create the EIRA by dividing extra innings runs allowed by total extra innings pitched.
With the new extra innings era dawning, it only makes sense to measure the impact in a real way that fans, players and coaches can understand. To fully quantify the impact of the ghost runner, I’m sure MLB has looked at and kept some stats for themselves, but let’s make a new category so everyone can easily check how their favorite players perform in extra innings.
EIRA and GRS will show all baseball fans who the best shut down relievers are in extra innings and who can’t handle the pressure of the extra frame.