How to Read the Pitching Lines in a Baseball Box Score

By John Lindell

Even some long-time baseball fans do not understand all of the information that is given in the pitching lines of a major league box score. However, if you know what each section of the pitching lines stand for, it is not that difficult to comprehend. A major league pitching line allows you to see how effective the pitchers for each club were, and helps you to determine how a contest was won or lost, and by whom.

Find the pitching line in the box score. Under the section that lists the batters at-bats, the men left on base, extra base hits and the stolen bases, you will see the pitching lines. If a box score was made up of two halves, then picture the pitching line as the second half, or the bottom half. It will be very short if not many pitchers were used, and can be quite long if many participate in the contest.

Look for the visiting team’s pitching lines first. The name of the team will appear in bold letters over the stats for their pitchers. After the away club’s hurlers are listed, the home team’s will be next, with that squad’s name in bold letters as well.

Locate the winning and the losing pitcher. This will be very recognizable. The winner will have a “W” following his name, and the loser will have an “L” after his. This capital letter will be followed by the pitcher’s record for the entire season. For instance, “Kazmir” W 11-6 means Kazmir was the winner and has won 11 game and lost 6 for the year. If you see an “S” following a name, that means that pitcher saved the game. The “S” is for a save, given to a reliever that comes in and keeps the other team from winning.

Understand what the six columns of numbers that follow pitchers’ names are. In bold letter you will see "IP," "H," "R," "ER," "BB" and "SO." These initials appear above each pitching line so that the numbers in them correspond to the correct hurler. "IP" means the number of innings pitched for that pitcher. If he comes in and gets two batters out before leaving, he will have pitched two-thirds of an inning and so forth. The “H” stands for the hits allowed by each pitcher. “R” is for the runs given up, and “ER” is the earned runs that particular pitcher surrendered. “BB” simply means bases on balls or walks, and “SO” is the strike-outs column for each man.

Check to see if there were any wild pitches thrown, passed balls or batters hit by a pitch. This is the last bit of info you can glean from the pitching lines. It comes on the bottom, between the stat lines and the list of the game’s umpires. “WP” is wild pitch and will be followed by the name of whoever threw it. “PB” means passed ball, followed by the name of the catcher who let the pitch get by. Finally, if a batter was hit by a pitch, there will be a designation of “HBP” with the pitcher’s name and the batter which he hit with the ball.

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