Thursday, May 9, 2013

Angels Protest After Wright Exits Without Throwing a Pitch

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia filed a protest Thursday after Houston Astros Manager Bo Porter relieved righty Paul Clemens with Wesley Wright in the top of the 7th, only to replace Wright with Hector Ambriz before Wright faced his first batter.

Scioscia passionately argues his case to Cubby.
With the Angels threatening, southpaw Wright was sent to the mound as Angels batter JB Shuck—a lefty—was due up next. Instead, however, Scioscia sent the right-handed-hitting Luis Jimenez to on-deck circle to set the lefty-righty matchup. Porter, meanwhile, responded by removing Wright from the ballgame and calling in the right-handed Ambriz, all before Wright fired a single pitch.

Pursuant to Rule 3.05(b), "If the pitcher is replaced, the substitute pitcher shall pitch to the batter then at bat, or any substitute batter, until such batter is put out or reaches first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire-in-chief’s judgment, incapacitates him for further play as a pitcher."

No discernible injury or illness was cited for the Ambriz-for-Wright substitution, which suggests a violation of Rule 3.05(b). Pursuant to Rule 3.05(b) Comment, "If a manager attempts to remove a pitcher in violation of Rule 3.05 (c) the umpire shall notify the manager of the offending club that it cannot be done. If, by chance, the umpire-in-chief has, through oversight, announced the incoming improper pitcher, he should still corrrect the situation before the improper pitcher pitches. Once the improper pitcher delivers a pitch he becomes the proper pitcher."

Upon observing the apparent illegal substitution, Scioscia convened crew chief Fieldin Culbreth and his umpiring crew of Brian O'Nora, Bill Welke and Adrian Johnson (plate), ultimately electing to protest the game due to the alleged misapplication of the Official Baseball Rules, pursuant to Rule 4.19 which governs protested games (umpires shall be notified at the time the play under protest occurs and before the next pitch, play or attempted play).

As such, Ambriz was permitted to pitch to Shuck's replacement, left-handed batter Scott Cousins (Jimenez was never officially announced) and Cousins flew out to end the inning. At the time of the protest, the Astros were leading, 5-3. The Angels ultimately won the contest, 6-5. Because the Angels won the ballgame, the protest has been withdrawn.

The last protest in Major League Baseball occurred during the 2012 NL Wild Card Game when LF Umpire Sam Holbrook ruled an infield fly (denied; judgment call) while the last Angels protest occurred on August 3, 2012 when Scioscia protested a runner's lane interference non-call (denied; umpire's judgment).

The last time a protest was upheld in MLB was on June 17, 1986, when the Pittsburgh Pirates protested that a rain-shortened game during which the Pirates appeared to lose to the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-1, was improperly called by umpiring crew chief John Kibler. Kibler called the game after two rain delays lasting 17 and 22 minutes; two pitches were thrown between the two delays. As National League regulations required umpires to wait at least 75 minutes during an initial and 45 minutes after a subsequent rain or other weather delay before calling a game, NL President Charles Feeney upheld the protest.

Wrap: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Houston Astros, 5/9/13
Video: Scioscia charges out of the dugout to file a protest when umpires allow consecutive pitching changes
Video: Scioscia repeats, "he's got to face a hitter!" to no avail as the umpires conference four times
Video: Porter explains his motives behind his excessive pitching changes, a misunderstanding of the rules

41 comments :

Gil Imber said...

My Guess......Porter Went To Sub In The Second Pitcher, And reported Him In. Then, The Wrong Guy Came Out Of Dugout. They Then Let Him Come Into The Game.

Gil Imber said...

Doesn't look like it to me. Looks like Cubby and the crew kicked the crap out of this one.

Gil Imber said...

I don't see how. The lefty Shuck is going to bat next against a righty pitcher (Clemens), so Porter brings in his lefty (Wright). Scioscia sees that and responds by taking Shuck out for righty Jimenez. Porter responds by taking out lefty Wright and bringing in his righty Ambriz. When the umpires fail to stop this, Scioscia brings in lefty batter Cousins.


Classic baseball management battle except that the defense is pretty restricted when it comes to subbing in and out for pitchers. The offense though is allowed to pinch hit pretty much any time that ball is dead. PLUS Jimenez was never announced.

Gil Imber said...

Yeah, this one looks pretty obvious - don't know what they (the umpiring crew) were thinking.

Gil Imber said...

Bo Porter's post game comments said he thought he was allowed to substitute the pitcher if the Angels sent up a pinch-hitter. That is what happened. How this crew allowed this, I don;t know.

Gil Imber said...

Just an FYI: more protests are denied because most managers don't know the rules and don't know you can't protest a judgment call. infield fly included. however, tonight's protest was legit and rightfully made

Gil Imber said...

Rumor mill in Anaheim is fire Mike, he's out, whatever, but seriously, this is why Mike Scioscia is a great manager - he simply knows the rules and isn't afraid to protest a ball game. He continually gestures with one finger here, repeatedly says "he has to face a hitter" and when the umps STILL proceed to blow the call, Scioscia finally protests the game without too much fanfare because at the point he realizes it's a lost cause for this crew. Love Scosh arguments, eyes bug out and you can tell he's really into it.


What ever happened to Rule 9's instructions to umpires, specifically where it says "Do not allow criticism to keep you from studying out bad situations that may lead to protested games. Carry your rule book. It is better to consult the rules and hold up the game ten minutes to decide a knotty problem than to have a game thrown out on protest and replayed."


HELLO? The rules are QUITE clear about this. I think Victor Rojas actually said at one point when the umpires were huddled at the mound that it would take no more than five minutes for one of the umps to get out the rule book, read Rule 3 and call the correct pitcher to the mound, thus avoiding the protested game that, had the Angels lost, would have 100% been upheld.

Gil Imber said...

Such an obvious call, how could they screw this up and how could Adrian Johnson say with a straight face that they "discussed this last week" and still think it's the right call? At least Angel Hernandez didn't have video evidence to reverse his JUDGEMENT CALL. This on the other hand is a rules interpretation call and blowing this call is egregiously awful. I know for a fact NBA referees would get fined heavily for pulling this kind of a rule book misinterp stunt. My only hope is MLB clearly communicates to all umpires about this play.


If Angel Hernandez, CB Bucknor or Cowboy Joe West was involved with this play, they would have been absolutely skewered by the press and fans.

Gil Imber said...

To Fieldin Culbreth, Brian O'Nora, Bill Welke and Adrian Johnson:
Thank You

Gil Imber said...

Damnit! There goes my primary umpire (Fieldin Culbreth)'s shot at getting a postseason series.

Gil Imber said...

Wow. Can't believe a big league umpiring crew could get this one wrong. During the game I thought benefit of the doubt, maybe Bo Porter is pulling a fast one and "claiming" that his pitcher is "injured" and that's what Scioscia was taking issue with, but after the game hearing Porter's comments about how he wanted a new pitcher for a new pinch hitter and umpires allowed it... just wow.


Joe Torre needs to overnight a fruit basket, champagne, gift cards, thank you notes, the whole nine yards to Mike Trumbo. If Trumbo doesn't win this game for the Angels, MLB has a real mess on their hands.

Gil Imber said...

How embarrassing. Two days in a row now that MLB has absolutely blown it. Surely one of the umpire supervisors in New York was watching these situations transpire the last two nights and at least tried to get to a phone to keep this from happening. I know they don't expect their crew chiefs to make mistakes that are this obvious, but perhaps they need to look at implementing something that would allow them to get a hold of the umpires during the game to keep these absolutely embarrassing mistakes from happening. Cant wait to see what Joe has to say about this one. Even though that doesn't mean he will actually do anything about it.

Gil Imber said...

For Cubby, this is a professional train wreck. First year crew chief and gets a protested game in his first two months. And it's a protest that would have been upheld.

Gil Imber said...

I agree. In fact, I've been going through this thread to see whether or not Fieldin is getting the same treatment as Angel. My conclusion thus far is that while for the most part most of us are disgusted at the mistake, there is nowhere near the level of rancor found in the Angel thread.

Gil Imber said...

i can't believe what i just saw

Gil Imber said...

I just faced a similar situation in the league I umpire in. It took me and my partner five seconds to make the RIGHT call while it took these guys forever and still made the wrong call. MLB has to start doing something to make these umpires accountable when they do not correctly enforce the rules.

Gil Imber said...

And speaking of this..... Check out the Replay monitor that was used by Angel.... This one comes from the MLB umpires... Torre fires and this somehow gets leaked... HMMMMM

http://deadspin.com/mlbs-crappy-replay-tech-its-a-miracle-umps-ever-get-499041275

Gil Imber said...

Why does this not apply...8.06 (d) if a pinch-hitter is substituted for this batter, the manager or coach may make a second visit to the mound, but must remove the pitcher.

Gil Imber said...

8.06(d) does not apply in this scenario because Porter made only one visit to the mound with Wright in the game. Because Jimenez was the only batter during Wright's presence (e.g., no pitch was thrown), 8.06(d) additionally does not apply because no pinch-hitter for Jimenez existed. In any case, 3.05(b) supersedes 8.06(d) in that a substitute pitcher shall pitch to the "batter then at bat or any substitute batter until such batter is put out or reaches first base or until the offensive team is put out."


In equation form:


1) Pitcher Clemens U Batter Shuck;
2) Pitcher Wright U Batter Jimenez;
3) Pitcher Ambriz U Batter Cousins.

Gil Imber said...

At umpire school we were told an upheld protest is a career ender! Maybe not in the majors, but minors for sure.

Gil Imber said...

I don't think they are quite equivalent...Angel had the proof right in front of him on a screen--even on a 19" screen you can stand two feet away and see the ricochet off the railing. These guys got wrapped up in a moment and couldn't remember something on a page of a 200+ page book....The houston umps had a human moment...Angel had a stubborn streak--that's a problem!

Gil Imber said...

I guess both broadcasts referenced the rule correctly - Mark Gubicza on FS West for the Angels actually quoted Rule 3.05(b) directly out of the rule book so props to Rojas/Gubby for having the rule book handy.


@ann this is a completely different situation than the Hernandez instant replay call. Even with that review and video, it's still a judgment call - there is no rule that needs to be interpreted. Judgment calls get missed. it happens.


What we have here with Angels-Astros is a rule that gets kicked, as in the umpires allowed Bo Porter to break a rule and when Scioscia pointed out the correct rule, they ignored it and still allowed the rule to be broken. It's as someone gets assaulted in the presence of a police officer and the cop declines to arrest the guy, saying that because no injury was obvious, it doesn't count and no crime was committed - no blood, no foul. Only the victim dies in the hospital two days later from internal bleeding.

Gil Imber said...

I agree. When it comes to judgment vs. rule book call, missing the judgment call is less of an infraction than blowing the book ruling - misdemeanor vs felony. You kick an interpretation, there should be consequences because of things than are 100% controllable, the rule book knowledge aspect is one of them. I get it, judgment, sometimes you just don't see the ball hitting the rail or the foot on the bag, it happens. But rule book calls should be 100% accurate 100% of the time. No excuse for poor knowledge in that arena.


Angel is getting the crap end of the stick because of his reputation, no doubt, just like when Jim Joyce got that out/safe call wrong in the Cards/Nats playoff series, the big story was "Imperfect Game Umpire Strikes Again." Some people are a bunch of sharks and that's just what happens when they smell blood in the water.


Cubby is fresh and lower profile, so is O'Nora and [Bill] Welke, Johnson is still fresh so there's that. This crew is supposed to be a solid, low key crew. But as we have seen, just because an umpiring crew is supposedly solid, it doesn't mean they actually know the rules through and through.


I've seen in the past the precision with which Hernandez and even Cowboy Joe make some of their more controversial calls, especially when it is a rule book call. Give AH or Joe West this situation and guaranteed, those guys warn Bo Porter he is doing something illegal, no protest or argument from Scioscia because AH or JW would get it right.


And then the media would blast them for disallowing Porter to bring in a new pitcher. Shake my damn head.

Gil Imber said...

they Lied To You.

Gil Imber said...

Yep. Missing Calls= Murder

Gil Imber said...

Wow, according to the latest tweet from MLB, Fieldin Culbreth has been suspended for 2 games, and everyone on the crew, including Culbreth, has been fined for misapplication of the rules

Gil Imber said...

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/05/10/the-umpires-in-the-astros-angels-game-have-been-disciplined/



It's a shame, Culbreth is an outstanding Umpire who always stays under the radar. But this is fair, a major mis- application of the rule that would have resulted in a succesful protest had the Angels lost. I hope this doesn't hurt his reputation in the media too much because he is a really good Umpire, but publicized suspensions are never good.

Gil Imber said...

Culbreth has been suspended 2 games. All umpires on the crew have been fined.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130510&content_id=47135778&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

Gil Imber said...

Culbreth was suspended two games and fined and the rest of the crew was fined

Gil Imber said...

I guess only TMAC would truly know. (Insert sarcasm here)

Gil Imber said...

Cubby is still working tonight in Tampa. Probably not enough time to get a Triple A Umpire there. I'm assuming he will not work Saturday or Sunday. He will not miss a Plate job though as he has the plate tonight. I have always said Umpires suspensions should include missing a plate job but that never seems to be the case.

Gil Imber said...

If that was AAA all 4 umpires would of been fired at the end of the year. Doesnt matter in the majors though because of all the union stuff. Thats why none of the MLB umpires are ever fired. The only way they could get fired is if they did something really bad off the field.

Gil Imber said...

How is missing a plate job punishment? All that does is make them rusty for the next time they are behind the plate. Usually when umpires go on vacation they like to time it to go right before they have the plate. Are you telling me you like the plate better than the bases?

Gil Imber said...

You know, today's umpires are under so much scrutiny from having TV cameras metaphorically shoved up their collective asses that if they happen to accidentally fart near a mic near home plate, everyone will hear it. Nestor Chylak and Doug Harvey never had to deal with slo-mo replay and strike zone mappings of every pitch they called. Would we look at them in the same light today if they umpired in the age of technology? Good lord, if Babe Pinelli called strike 3 on the pitch that ended the 1956 WORLD SERIES today, Tim McCarver would be leading the mob with pitchforks and torches. Marty Foster was ripped a new butt crack for calling probably a better pitch a strike to end a REGULAR SEASON game. I just had to get that off my chest.

Gil Imber said...

So what's that make him 1 out of 4... 5 for the total times he's tried to protest? I wouldn't take that percentage to the bank.

Gil Imber said...

Is it unreasonable to expect professional umpires to do their jobs? I get feet shoved up my arse every time i screw up. What makes umpires so special that they should just get free passes when they screw up?

Gil Imber said...

This crew didn't get a free pass though. Culbreth got suspended 2 games and the rest of the Umpires got fined. Umpires get fined sometimes if they mess up but it is usually not announced unless it is a highly publicized incident like this one.

Gil Imber said...

No, not at all. Which is why this crew got disciplined for this strange mental lapse of a situation. What IS unreasonable is to expect them to be perfect. It's the nature of the job, even the best umpires will miss a call every now and then. Sometimes it'll be game-changing, sometimes it won't. If you start suspending or fining umpires every time they miss a call then there won't be any umpires left.

Gil Imber said...

In the article that you link to above, it says the Office of the Commissioner will determine the dates of the suspension. I guess they didn't want to start it just yet.

Gil Imber said...

I agree with Jim (and the broadcasters)...cmon MLB...would it KILL YOU to have ONE of your umps bring a rule book out with them in case they need to flip through it during the game? It's pretty clearly stated in the rules, but it's not like it comes up every day...you'll look stupid for about 2 minutes, and then everyone will say "hey, but they got it right" and move on.

Gil Imber said...

It's an elementary rule. Just think of the practical application.

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