Crooked Number in Baseball Explained

Crooked Number” in baseball refers to any score higher than one. It’s named such because these numbers are neither straight like the number one, nor perfectly round like zero.

Baseball is a game brimming with rules, each one serving a distinct purpose. They make the game thrilling and prevent avoidable injuries or unjust advantages.

Crooked Number
These numerals are crucial terms while looking at the scoreboards. ( Source : twitter )

Every baseball player, irrespective of their position, needs to grasp advanced Major League Baseball (MLB) concepts before stepping onto the diamond field. This game is full of such terms that might only make sense to the baseball community.

MLB concepts have evolved over time, incorporating new ideas like the Ghost Rule and Double Hook rules. Adjustments were made to the Doubleheader rules amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and bases will be enlarged from the 2023 season onwards.

Just like these changes, the concept of the “Crooked Number” has been a longstanding part of baseball, standing the test of time.

What Is A Crooked Number In Baseball?


In a game of baseball, you might hear the term “crooked number”. This phrase is used to describe any score above one that a batting team achieves during an inning.

Crooked Number
The concept of numbers is often discussed in MLB games and commentary.( Source : twitter )

Imagine you’re watching a baseball match and glancing up at the stadium scoreboard. If a batter scores a single run, the team’s score changes to 1. This score is considered straight, not crooked, due to its straight-lined numeric appearance.

However, if the batter makes multiple runs – say 2, 3, or 4 – in a half-inning, we use the term “crooked number”. Why? Well, these numbers appear crooked visually, unlike 0 or 1. But remember, to make a crooked number, the batter needs to score more than once within the same half-inning. Meanwhile, the pitcher’s goal is to limit this possibility by getting three outs as quickly as possible.

As you can see, the concept of a crooked number is closely linked to the scoreboard. Fans and commentators use it as a playful way to point out when a team has managed to score more than a single run in a half-inning. It’s one of those quirky baseball phrases that adds charm to the sport.

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Significance of Crooked Number

A crooked number is a big win for the batting team as it means they’ve scored several runs in a short time.

Crooked Number
Houston Astros 2022 World Champions( Source : Twitter )

These quick scores boost the team’s spirit, increasing their momentum. However, it can be disheartening for the pitchers, who’ve let in a flurry of runs before managing to get three outs.

Experts in the game, like commentators and analysts, often refer to this to highlight a game’s turning point. A strong finish with a crooked number in the final inning can lead to victory. To prevent this, the defending team brings in a top-notch closer.

Coaches also find this term useful for assessing player performance and devising new strategies for pitching.

What Factors Lead To A Crooked Score?

A scoreboard lights up with what we call a ‘Crooked number’ when a baseball team hits home runs, steals bases, among other actions.

To achieve this, the team aims to make at least two runs before the opposing team’s pitchers can make three outs. If there are baserunners, a batter can potentially score a powerful home run.

Crooked Number
Angels’ Ohtani is an exceptional players who can bat and pitch effectively.( Source : twitter )

The baserunners, too, play a crucial role as they can add speed to the scoring by stealing bases in a row.

A surefire method to attain a high crooked number is through a grand slam. This move can secure a guaranteed four runs, but for that, the bases need to be full of runners. However, grand slams are not common in Major League Baseball.

Additional base hits like doubles and triples can aid in achieving the crooked number. A batter automatically scores two points if they can reach second base without any interference from the fielding team. But it’s worth noting that triples are less frequent than doubles.

A stolen base can upgrade a single into a double, increasing the score in just one run, but it comes with the risk of being declared out. Players will only opt for this strategy if they believe their success rate is above 75%. Furthermore, a stroke of good fortune can sometimes come in handy for scoring if fielders commit an error.

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What Does No Crooked Numbers Mean In Baseball?

The term “no crooked numbers” in baseball means the team couldn’t score two or more runs in a game.

Crooked Number
if there are no runs or only one run, the offensive team has to strategize their approach.( Source : twitter )

In games where no crooked numbers occur, a situation known as a ‘Picket Fence’ might arise. This term refers to when a team consistently scores only one run during each of their innings.

A ‘no-crooked number’ game could also mean the team didn’t manage to score any runs. Though this scenario is less common, it’s certainly not a position any team would want to be in, as it signifies a weak performance.

Defensive strategies can be employed to avoid such situations, such as a ‘shutout‘. This is when a single pitcher plays the whole game without letting the opposition score any runs. But it’s worth noting that multiple pitchers can also collectively contribute to a shutout. Remember, simplicity is key in understanding and playing the game well.

The Phillies And Their Crooked Season

The Philadelphia Phillies showed impressive scores in the 2020 season.

Crooked Number
The Phillies made some exceptional runs in the 2020 season but ultimately faced setback. ( Source : twitter )

On the 1st of September 2020, the Phillies secured a win against the Washington Nationals with a 6-0 score. This victory was due in part to Andrew McCutchen’s remarkable 3-run home run during the 6th inning, adding to their lead. What’s more, the Phillies shut out the Nationals in this match.

There was another noteworthy game on the 5th of August 2020, where the Phillies triumphed over the Yankees with a score of 11-7. The Phillies started strong, scoring three runs in the initial inning, and later doubled their score in the third inning, contributing to their success.

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Furthermore, the Phillies’ match on the 23rd of September 2020, against the Nationals once more, saw them scoring an impressive six runs in the final inning. Also noteworthy was the three runs they scored in the eighth inning, with notable contributions from McCutchen and Bryce Harper.

These games demonstrated the Philadelphia Phillies’ strong performance throughout the season, often characterized by ‘crooked’ numbers on the scoreboard – a testament to their prowess on the field.

Crooked Number Inning In Baseball

A “crooked number inning” in baseball simply means that the batting team has scored more than once.

Crooked Number
Scoring more than one run in an inning is a sign of excellent offensive performance. ( Source : twitter )

If the team that’s pitching delivers effective throws, this can potentially lower the rate at which the opposing team scores and boost the spirits of their own team on defense.

The occurrence of a crooked number inning can be influenced by a variety of factors including the skills of the players, the strategies employed by the teams, and even the weather. Upon observing the emergence or lack of crooked numbers during a game, the team’s coach might decide to modify the team’s approach as necessary.

Baseball Matches With Crooked Numbers

Numerous baseball games in the Major League have given us unusual scores within just one of the nine innings.

Remember that spectacular win by Atlanta Braves over the Miami Marlins on September 9, 2020? The score was a whopping 29-9! The Braves wowed us all with 11 runs in the second inning, followed by six in the fifth, and four more in the seventh. Big thanks to Swanson, Riley, and Duvall who each contributed five runs!

Astros, the champions of the 2022 World Series, didn’t disappoint either. They bested Boston Red Sox with a solid 13-4 on May 17, 2022. In the second inning, they rushed with nine runs and added four more in the fourth. The stars of that day? Gurriel and Alvarez, each with three runs!

The Cleveland Guardians, in the same year, outdid Kansas City Royals 17-3 on April 10. The scoreboard lit up with six runs in the first inning, four in the second, and three more in the seventh. Who stood out? Steven Kwan, scoring four runs for the Guardians.

Fast forward to 2023, the Tampa Bay Rays showed their might in their second game against the Detroit Tigers on April 1, winning 12-2. The third inning saw seven runs from the Rays, followed by two more in the fourth. Yandy Diaz played a crucial part with his three runs for the Bay Rays.

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