Monday, July 4, 2016

Batting Out of Turn in DC Erases Brewers Single in 1st

Nationals Manager Dusty Baker caught the Brewers batting out of order in the 1st inning of the July 4 Brewers-Nationals game in Washington, DC, helping his team end the frame without giving up a hit. With two out in the top of the 1st, Brewers batter Ryan Braun stepped to the plate as hitter #3 on the day and hit a single to center field to seemingly bring Jonathan Lucroy to the plate.

On appeal, umpires review the lineup cards.
Instead, Nats skipper Dusty Baker met with HP Umpire Cory Blaser and Crew Chief Jeff Nelson, appealing to the umpires that the Brewers had batted out of turn and alleging that Lucroy should have hit in the third spot, not Braun.

After consultation with crewmates Greg Gibson and Nic Lentz, and a review of Blaser's lineup cards, the umpires agreed and declared Lucroy out for failing to bat in his proper spot: Lucroy should have hit third, meaning that Braun should have hit fourth.

Official Baseball Rule 6.03(b) (formerly OBR 6.07) concerns Batting Out of Turn, and states:
(1) A batter shall be called out, on appeal, when he fails to bat in his proper turn, and another batter completes a time at bat in his place. 
(3) When an improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and the defensive team appeals to the umpire before the first pitch to the next batter of either team, or before any play or attempted play, the umpire shall (1) declare the proper batter out; and (2) nullify any advance or score made because of a ball batted by the improper batter or because of the improper batter's advance to first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter or otherwise.
Accordingly, Baker wisely waited for improper batter Braun to hit a single before lodging his appeal, leading the umpires to declare the proper batter Lucroy out for the final out of the first inning. Braun then led off the top of the 2nd inning for Milwaukee. Had Baker appealed while Braun was still improperly at the plate, the Brewers could have inserted Lucroy into his rightful place without penalty.

UIC Cory Blaser shows Braun the lineup card.
Batting out of turn, on appeal, is one of the reasons a Crew Chief may communicate with the Replay Official, as in regulation II.J.6 ("determining, after appeal, whether a batter fails to bat in his proper turn, and another batter completes a time at bat in his place, in violation of Official Baseball Rule 6.03(b) [formerly Rule 6.07]"). This is not to be considered a Replay Review, but merely a "BOO/rules check." Similarly, this is the first appealed/out batting out of order communication with Replay HQ since expanded replay was introduced in 2014.

Overall, this is the first successful batting out of order appeal since July 7, 2013, when Tony Randazzo ruled Pablo Sandoval out in the 1st inning of the Dodgers-Giants game. After improper batter Buster Posey lined an RBI double to right field, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly approached Brian Gorman and his crew to appeal that Sandoval had failed to bat in his proper turn, leading to Sandoval being declared out, Posey's RBI double to be nullified, and the resumption of play with the proper batter following Sandoval at the plate, which happened to be Posey. Posey then flew out to end the inning.

Alternate Link: Braun's single turns into a Lucroy out as Dusty catches Brewers batting out of order (WAS)


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