Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Starting From Scratch - Batter Disrupts Pitcher's Delivery

Umpire DJ Reyburn's non-balk call on Boston's Rick Porcello in Tampa Bay was precisely the correct call when Rays batter Logan Morrison requested "time" after Porcello had already started his delivery, and Porcello henceforth stopped his natural pitching motion after seeing Morrison step back in the left-handed batter's box.

DJ orders the play a do-over from "scratch."
With two out and two on in the home half of the third inning Tuesday evening, Morrison dug in for Porcello's 0-2 pitch, only to request "Time" mere seconds after stepping into the box. Seeing Porcello on the cusp of a delivery, Reyburn did not grant Morrison's request, though Morrison took it upon himself to step away from home plate as Porcello begin his pitch. Porcello, seeing Morrison had given up on the play, likewise stopped his motion and put his free foot down before throwing a half-hearted attempt at a pitch (having already disengaged the rubber) that bounced into his catcher's glove.

Reyburn, upon seeing Porcello's seemingly illegal pitch, stepped out from home plate and appeared poised to call the Boston pitcher for a start-stop balk, before recalling a certain rule that addresses what should be done when both the batter and the pitcher engage in wrongdoing during a pitch sequence.

That rule would be OBR 5.04(b)(2) Comment, which states, "If after the pitcher starts his windup or comes to a “set position” with a runner on, he does not go through with his pitch because the batter has inadvertently caused the pitcher to interrupt his delivery, it shall not be called a balk. Both the pitcher and batter have violated a rule and the umpire shall call time and both the batter and pitcher start over from “scratch.”"

Because Morrison's actions in backing away from the plate inadvertently caused Porcello to interrupt his delivery, the sequence was not ruled a balk and Reyburn simply called the oddity a "no pitch" and resumed play "from scratch" with an 0-2 count, which was the correct call.

As Jerry Remy said while pretending to speak for Reyburn, "You can't be doing that. I gotta call 'Time,' you just can't walk out of the box like that. If I don't call 'Time,' you can't do that."

Alternate Video Link: Both batter and pitcher stop playing, as Reyburn orders a do-over (BOS)


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