What is a Good Era for a Relief Pitcher?

This article may contain affiliate links. For details, visit our Affiliate Disclosure page.

A relief pitcher’s earned run average is an important statistic that can tell us whether or not he has been effective in the games he has pitched in so far during his career. It’s also an important statistic to help predict how well he will do in the future. Here we will see What is a Good Era for a Relief Pitcher?

What is a Good Era for a Relief Pitcher?

An earned run is any run that is charged against a pitcher’s ERA. An ERA between  4.00 and 5.00 is average; the majority of pitchers have an ERA in this range. An ERA above 5.00 is generally considered below average, and a pitcher with an ERA above 6.00 for a prolonged period of time is usually in danger of demotion to the bullpen or a lower league. As teams become more aware of how much strain this puts on a player’s arm, they’re giving more opportunities to pitchers who may be less talented but can throw more innings.

What is an earned run?

An earned run is any run that is charged against a pitcher’s ERA. The rules for what constitutes an earned run are straightforward: If a runner reaches base as a result of an error, hit batsman, or wild pitch, it will count as an earned run. If a runner scores because of one of these reasons, it will count as an earned run. If a runner scores by way of a fielder’s choice (where he could have been put out), it will not be counted as an earned run. If all runners on base at the time of a walk or hit batter score, they will be considered unearned runs and not counted in ERA calculations. In short: Any run that was scored without direct involvement from your team is considered unearned and won’t affect your ERA.

The Formula for Earned Runs

A relief pitcher’s earned run average (ERA) is calculated by taking his total number of runs allowed and dividing it by his total number of innings pitched. Essentially, an earned run is any run that was charged as earned at least in part due to an error or failure on behalf of a team member. The formula for ERA is ER / IP = ERA where ER stands for earned runs and IP represents innings pitched. If a reliever allows three runs over two innings, he would have an ERA of 3/2 = 1.5 which means he has given up one-and-one-half earned runs per inning.

Example of Calculating Earned Runs

After each game, all professional teams keep track of earned runs. The goal is simple—to not allow any of your opponents runs that were unearned. A run is considered earned if it was scored as a result of an error on your team or by someone who reached base safely on your team’s defense (for example, in baseball, if there are two outs, bases loaded and someone hits a fly ball that isn’t caught). Unearned runs are just as bad for pitchers as they are good for their opposition. When scoring statistics at home or during games, always make sure to use earned runs when calculating earned run average. Here’s how: 1) Add up all of a pitcher’s runs allowed; 2) Subtract from that total any runs he scored himself; 3) Divide that number by his total number of innings pitched; 4) Finally, multiply that number by nine. That final figure will be his earned run average. For example: If a relief pitcher has allowed six earned runs over five innings pitched while also allowing three unearned runs and scoring one himself, his ERA would be calculated as follows: 6 + 3 – 1 = 10 ÷ 5 = 2 x 9 = 18 ÷ 5 = 3.6 (rounded to nearest tenth).

Modern Day Pitching

In recent years, the game of baseball has changed drastically. With the proliferation of new statistics and advanced analytics, relief pitchers have become an even more critical part of a team’s success. In modern-day baseball, closers are coming in at the ninth inning to pitch with the lead, and set-up men are now pitching in the middle innings to protect leads or tie games. The increased importance of relievers has created an environment where it is imperative that teams build bullpens capable of pitching multiple innings on any given night.

The limitations of using ERA

ERA, or earned run average, is a figure used in baseball that expresses how many runs a pitcher gives up per nine innings. It’s calculated by taking an individual pitcher’s total runs allowed divided by his innings pitched and multiplying it by nine. However, despite being used for decades as one of several statistical indicators of pitcher performance, ERA has some major limitations. In most cases, it fails to adequately take into account factors like fielders’ errors and blown saves—some of which have large impacts on run production. And because baserunners can change significantly from year-to-year, what looks like an improvement may be nothing more than variance at work. As such, ERA isn’t necessarily a great way to evaluate pitchers. To get a clearer picture of who really deserves credit for preventing runs, you should use statistics like FIP (fielding independent pitching) and xFIP (expected fielding independent pitching). These metrics adjust for things outside of pitchers’ control and provide better insights into their actual abilities. With that said, ERA is still an important statistic when trying to understand historical trends or when evaluating specific players against each other—but only if you’re using other stats to back it up.


The ERA of a relief pitcher is an important statistic. However, it is not an accurate representation of pitching effectiveness. A reliever’s ERA will increase for three reasons: 

  •  more hits allowed per innings pitched; 
  • more walks issued per inning pitched; and 
  •  giving up more home runs per inning pitched. In addition, poor defense behind a pitcher can raise his ERA. All factors considered, each run scored while a reliever pitches accounts for approximately one-third of his earned run average (ERA).
What is a Good Era for a Relief Pitcher?
Scroll to top