Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mound Visit Madness and MLB Rule 8.06(c)

Mound visits and pitching changes have confounded MLB in recent years, capitulated by a 16th-inning snafu Monday night—or Tuesday morning (the game ended after 16 full on Tuesday at 12:45 am).

This week's episode of mound visit madness occurred during Monday's Mets-Giants game with Giants relief pitcher George Kontos throwing in the top of the 16th. With one out, Kontos surrendered a single to Mets batter Eric Young Jr., prompting a mound visit from San Francisco pitching coach Dave Righetti as Daniel Murphy stepped to the plate and reliever Javier Lopez began to warm in the Giants' bullpen. After Young stole second and with Murphy still at bat, Giants manager Bruce Bochy attempted to substitute Lopez for Kontos, resulting in the second mound visit of the inning, not to mention the at bat.

Bochy strolls to the mound at AT&T Park.
Pursuant to OBR Rule 8.06(c), "The manager or coach is prohibited from making a second visit to the mound while the same batter is at bat" unless a pinch-hitter is substituted for the batter, which nonetheless would require a pitching change for a second mound visit to the same pitcher in the same inning, as in 8.06(b).

Rule 8.06 Comment specifies that, if after a first visit in the same inning with the same pitcher in the game and the same batter at bat, the manager attempts to make a second visit in contravention of Rule 8.06(c), the umpire shall warn him that he cannot return to the mound and if after being warned, the manager still makes that second such visit, "the manager shall be removed from the game and the pitcher required to pitch to the batter until he is retired or gets on base."

During Mets-Giants, Bochy made this second visit and by rule, Kontos was properly replaced by Lopez after Murphy grounded out to advance the winning run—Young—to third base...though Bochy was not "removed from the game" as in Rule 8.06 Comment. One theory as to why Bochy was permitted to remain in the game is that the umpires—HP Umpire Adam Hamari and Acting Crew Chief Bill Miller along with 2B Umpire Todd Tichenor and 3B Umpire CB Bucknor—did not warn Bochy about the impending Rule 8.06(c) violation prior to his second visit.

This is not Bochy's first multiple mound visit rodeo in California.

Mattingly turns around for prohibited visit #2.
(Video): On July 21, 2010, Bochy protested a 9th inning visit by Dodgers acting skipper Don Mattingly (Joe Torre had been ejected) to closer Jonathan Broxton. During that frame, Mattingly left the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitcher's rubber—concluding his mound visit pursuant to Rule 8.06(d)—before turning around to discuss the upcoming at-bat with first baseman James Loney.

In response to that sequence, MLB publicly stated that HP Umpire Adrian Johnson and Crew Chief Tim McClelland improperly applied Rule 8.06 because the umpires required Broxton to leave the game immediately instead of forcing Broxton to face batter Andres Torres and then depart. Reliever George Sherrill allowed a game-winning two-run double to Torres and MLB's statement suggested that had the Dodgers protested the game (they did not), the protest may have been upheld.

In May, Mike Scioscia and the Angels protested after umpires improperly allowed Houston to remove pitcher Wesley Wright without Wright having thrown a single pitch. Because the Angels ultimately won the game, the protest was dropped, though the protest would have been upheld had the Angels lost. Following the game, Crew Chief Fieldin Culbreth was suspended two games while umpires Johnson, Bill Welke and Brian O'Nora were publicly fined. Coincidentally, Johnson was here, as he was in 2010, the home plate umpire.


Lindsay said...

In last night's Red Sox/Mariners game in Seattle, Boston manager John Farrell attempted a second visit during an at bat in an attempt to remove his starting pitcher. HP umpire Jim Joyce and 3B umpire intercepted him before he crossed the base line and sent him back to the dugout.

Lindsay said...

which is what annoys me about this play---why did hamari wait until bochy got all the way to the mound...after he signaled to the pen, after he took the ball from the pitcher and after the new reliever was halfway out of the pen and on to the field...

it's a minor change, but the rule should be me, if you actually make the second visit in the same AB (counted by crossing the foul line from the dugout), then as manager you should be removed.

Otherwise---when exactly is the umpire supposed to "warn"? If the umpire fails to warn before the manager arrives at the mound, then isn't the umpire at fault?

Thanks Gil for posting!

Lindsay said...

I'll cut Hamari a little slack here for not noticing this (afterall, this was his 1st MLB plate game), HOWEVER, I find it hard to believe that none of the other FULL-TIME umpires also failed to recognize this and allowed this to happen. One of them should have stepped in to at least stop the pitching change from occurring...even if they had to send back the reliever who was already jogging in from the bullpen. If I'm the MLB Supervisor for this crew, I'm coming down hard on the Crew Chief (or in this case, the acting Crew Chief) and the other more "senior" guys on the crew for letting this happen (ie, not just Hamari).

Lindsay said...

Some guys get this right (Jim Joyce the other night). Some don't (Culbreth, Hamari, and even McLelland in 2010!). It happens, but I think these guys DO need to be held accountable at some level. They make a lot of money (for the most part). If you're a "senior" official and waffle when it comes to a law of the game, you need to re-visit the rule books! No one is perfect, but professional officials need to be close to that.

Lindsay said...

Am I blind? Where is the video for it. I only see one video from 2010.

Lindsay said...

It was the top of the 16th, one out and Young singles. Righetti makes a trip. Murphy steps into the box and Kontos proceeds to try and pick Young off several times, throws two pitches and Young steals second with the ball going to centerfield. Bochy comes out of the dugout and calls for the lefty. In watching both feeds on MLB TV, by the time Bochy got to the mound Hamari and Tichenor (2nd base umpire) were there telling him he could not make the change. Bochy left and the umpires enforced the penalty. Once Bochy signaled and crossed the line the trip had been made. Bochy is the guilty party here not the umpires.

Both feeds, the announcers did not know why the umpires would not allow the pitching change. The giants feed actually went to commercial!! Upon coming back they could not explain why Lopez was not brought in. I'm sure the umpires were not expecting the Giant's manager to come out again. I think they did an excellent job of enforcing the rule as Bochy signaled before a warning could be issued.

Lindsay said...

Off topic but why was Mike Winters (CC) at 3rd on Joe West's (CC) crew last night at Wrigley Field doing the Cubs - Angels game? (Crew was West, Holbrook, Fletcher, Winters)

Rob Drake was at the Houston game with Wegner, Diaz and Timmons.

Lindsay said...

Another off topic question but where the hell is Jim Wolf?

Lindsay said...

Not his first plate game. 3rd, actually.

Lindsay said...

I have been asking that question for a while.... haven't seen him since April.

Lindsay said...

Failed drug test for using steroids, I mean P.E.D.
Just kidding guys ;)

Lindsay said...

You're right and he did a great job handling this...especially being only his 3rd plate job in the bigs. Congrats Hamari!!!

Lindsay said...

Speaking of Fieldin Culbreth, I wonder when MLB is going to have him serve the suspension. It does not appear to have occurred yet.

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