Suspended Animation

In major league baseball, a suspended game is a game which is started on one day but continued from the point of suspension on a different day. When a game spans more than one day, when should the statistics for that game count?

For most sites, it seems they put the stats for the game on the date when it started. The Orioles at Cardinals game on May 21st was suspended in the 6th inning, and completed the next day. Fangraphs shows the boxscore for May 21st, with statistics for the entire game. In that page, there is no indication that the game was suspended. Their scoreboard page for that date, however, implies the game wass suspended: it shows the score as being tied at 1-1 in the 6th inning, with a win probability chart with the home team Cardinals only a little more likely to win:

Win probability chart for Orioles at Cardinals on May 21 2024. The chart only shows the game through the 6th inning, when it was suspended.

Baseball Reference is similar. Like Fangraphs, they list this game with the date of May 21, but here the boxscore itself does have a note near the top mentioning the game was completed on the 22nd:

Screen capture from baseball reference's boxscore for the Orioles at Cardinals game on May 21 2024. This excerpt has a note saying the game was suspended and completed on May 22nd.

The link to this box appears on their scoreboard page for May 21st, with no indication there that the game was suspended and completed on a different day.

By contrast, MLB.com lists this game on their scoreboard pages for both May 21 and May 22. On the first date, the box says the game is completed on the 22nd:

Image of part of MLB.com's scoreboard page for May 21st, showing the Orioles at Cardinals game was completed on May 22.

On the scoreboard for the 22nd, the game is shown as being a completion of the game on the 21st:

Image of part of MLB.com's scoreboard page for May 22nd, showing this Orioles at Cardinals game was a completion of the game on May 21.

Both of those link to the same boxscore, which amusingly has a date of May 22 in its URL: https://www.mlb.com/gameday/orioles-vs-cardinals/2024/05/22/745180/final/box. But if you look at a player game log for Nolan Gorman, who drove in all 3 runs, and hit a 2-run homer on May 22, you see his statistics for the game are listed for May 21, and the link to the May 21 box goes to this suspended game:

Screen capture of part of Nolan Gorman's player game log.

From a fantasy perspective, none of the above are optimal. In the game, Gorman went 2-2 with a home run and 3 RBI, but he was 1-1 with 1 RBI on May 21, and then 1-1 with the HR and 2 RBI on May 22. RotoValue now lets you make that distinction. First, it has three different versions of the boxscore for this game. The first, with the date of the game start, shows only the statistics accumulated on that first date, May 21:

Screen capture of the RotoValue boxscore for the Orioles at Cardinals game starting on May 21, showing only statistics from that date.

Note that this box shows Gorman going 1-1 with 1 RBI. The second is for the date of May 22, and shows only the statistics accumulated on that date:

Screen capture of the RotoValue boxscore for the suspended Orioles at Cardinals game started on May 21 and completed on May 22. This box shows only the statistics accumulated on May 22.

Here Gorman is indeed shown going 1-1 with 1 HR and 2 RBI, the stats he accumulated from this game on May 22. Finally there is a box that shows the statistics for the entire game:

Screen capture of the RotoValue boxscore for the suspended Orioles at Cardinals game started on May 21 and completed on May 22. This box shows the statistics for the entire game.

Here statistics for the full game are displayed. When looking at a player game log, you see a line for this game for each date, with the statistics compiled only on the date in question. Each of these boxscores has a link to the other two boxscores for the same game.

Here is a part of Nolan Gorman’s game log, showing the stats for the two days:

Screen shot of part of Nolan Gorman's PlayerDetail page at RotoValue.com, showing game log entries for the end of May.

The two teams played a full game on the 22nd, which Gorman did not play in, but that game gets its own separate line in the game log. Here is part of the game log for Paul Goldschmidt:

Screen shot of part of Paul Goldschmidt's PlayerDetail page at RotoValue.com, showing game log entries for the end of May.

From the above boxscores you can see that Goldschmidt went 1-3 in this game on the 21st, and 0-1 on the 22nd while playing 1B. In the other game on the 22nd, he was 0-4 as a DH.

The key point for fantasy sports is that if you have a player active for only one of the two dates on which a suspended game was played, you should only get credit for the stats accumulated in the part of the game played on that date. Now that RotoValue can separate the game into two halves, it can credit statistics based on the lineup status for those dates. So if you had Gorman active for the 21st but not the 22nd, you would get credit for just 1-1 and 1 RBI from that game.

Finally, I want to mention how RotoValue handles the decision statistics, wins, losses, and holds. Until the game is actually over, we don’t know who the winning or losing pitchers are, so it might seem those decisions should be recorded on the date the game ends. But if a pitcher in a decision only pitches on the first day, but winds up with a decision, he should not get the decision for a date on which he never pitched. So what RotoValue does is to credit a decision to the date on which the pitcher actually pitched. That happened in this game, as Cardinals’ starter Lance Lynn pitched 6 innings and left with the score tied 1-1, but Nolan Gorman’s 2-run HR in the bottom of the 6th while Lynn was still the pitcher of record gave him the win once the game was over. Note in the boxscores above Lynn appears and gets a win in both the partial box for May 21 and the full box for the entire game, but he does not appear at all in the partial box for May 22 (because he did not pitch on that date).

Suspended games are tricky to handle for fantasy sports. If you consider a suspended game as occurring on just one date, then you put all its stats on either the date the game starts or the date the game ends. No matter which of these you choose, you will credit at least one player with some statistics on a date where they did not accumulate them, but not credit them with statistics on a date where they did. Now that RotoValue splits the statistics across both dates of the suspended game, however, they will only get statistics on the dates when they actually played and accumulated those stats.