MODESTO - Ty Blach, San Jose’s outstanding lefty, was roughed up a little on Wednesday in his final start of the regular season.
In a loss to Visalia, Blach allowed five runs, four of which were earned, on five hits and two walks over 4 ⅓ innings of work. Or at least that’s how the original boxscore read.
Then, the wheels began to turn, and it was discovered that Blach and California League pitcher of the year Dan Winkler (ex-of the Nuts) finished the season with exactly the same number of innings pitched in the league (130 ⅓) and exactly the same number of earned runs allowed (43.)
So Blach and Winkler would be co-ERA leaders for the 2013 season at 2.97. No problem. No harm. No shame there.
Shortly after the end of the game, a Visalia hit was changed to a fielding error charged to third baseman Ryan Cavan. The result was that a run originally charged to Blach was made unearned, lowering his ERA from 2.97 to 2.90 and giving him the ERA title.
The lone way scoring decisions are changed after the game is a member of one of the coaching staffs asking for a review of the play from the official scorer, who has the power of final decision.
I haven’t seen the play, although all San Jose home games are videocast on MiLB TV, so a replay should be available. I did send a message to a member of the Visalia front office who was at the game, and his response was that there was no way in his mind the play should have been scored anything but a hit.
Blach’s an excellent pitcher with a bright future. This is nothing against him or his talents.
But if the San Jose coaching staff put pressure on their official scorer to change a call, knowing the result would be an ERA title for one of their own, the whole process has been cheapened.