An inherited runner is any baserunner who is already on base when a relief pitcher enters the game. Any inherited runners who score against a relief pitcher are not charged to his ERA; however, there are a few statistics that take into account a pitcher's success at stranding runners on base.
Stranding inherited runners is an absolutely pivotal job for any relief pitcher -- even though doing so isn't relevant to his ERA. This is why ERA isn't always an effective tool in evaluating relievers.
Watch: David Carpenter inherits two runners and strands them.
In A Call
"inherited," "inherited baserunner," "mess to clean up"