Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Reds' Batting Out of Order Appeal vs Mets 1st since 2016

Interim Reds Manager Jim Riggleman exposed his Mets rookie counterpart, Mickey Callaway, for batting out of order in the 1st inning of Wednesday's game in Cincinnati. New York forfeited a runner in scoring position as the successful appeal negated Asdrubal Cabrera's double, resulting instead in Jay Bruce being declared out for his teammate's infraction of batting out of turn.

Reds called New York for batting out of turn.
This is a somewhat complex play, so we've put together a UEFL University lesson and video analysis to explain what happened (see following video).

The Play: Prior to the game, Mets Manager Callaway submitted to HP Umpire in Chief Gabe Morales, care of Bench Coach Gary DiSarcina, New York's batting order, which placed center fielder Brandon Nimmo in the first position, second baseman Cabrera batting second, third baseman Wilmer Flores batting third, right fielder Bruce batting fourth, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez batting fifth. The lineups were then exchanged with Cincinnati.

After Nimmo led off the game with a three-pitch strikeout, number three hitter Flores stepped to the plate instead of Cabrera, similarly striking out. Following Flores' plate appearance, listed number two hitter Cabrera hit a double to left field, with Jay Bruce on deck.

Morales and Meals speak with Bruce.
The Appeal: Riggleman appealed to HP Umpire Morales that by batting after Flores, Cabrera had batted out of turn, because Flores was listed prior to Cabrera in the batting order. Bruce should have followed Flores. In short, Riggleman attested that the Mets switched their #2 and #3 hitters and that, because his appeal was on #2 hitter Cabrera's time at bat, which followed #3 hitter Flores' the proper batter should have been the #4 hitter, Bruce.

After consulting the official card, Morales declared an end to the inning with Crew Chief Jerry Meals standing by in case any support or supervision was needed.

The Rule: Batting out of turn is listed as an illegal action on the batter's part, as Rule 6.03(b)(1), and states, "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."

So Why Wasn't Cabrera Out? Though it seems logical that Cabrera—who improperly followed Flores—committed the illegal act, the play initiates with Flores, who batted second when he should have hit third; however, when Flores struck out and the first pitch was then thrown to ensuing batter Cabrera, Flores' time at bat became legal and he no longer was an improper batter, as in 6.03(b)(5): "When an improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and a pitch is made to the next batter of either team before an appeal is made, the improper batter thereby becomes the proper batter, and the results of his time at bat become legal."

Furthermore, "The instant an improper batter’s actions are legalized, the batting order picks up with the name following that of the legalized improper batter" (6.03(b)(7)).

The order in the Mets' dugout was wrong.
Outcome: As such, Flores was now a proper batter, which meant that the player listed after Flores in the batting order—Bruce—was the batter who should have hit next: #2 hitter Cabrera was essentially passed over. Instead, Cabrera stepped to the plate, hit a double, and, pursuant to 6.03(b)(1), proper batter Bruce was declared out for failing to bat in his proper turn after Flores, and Cabrera's double was erased, as in 6.03(b)(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."

Resumption of Play: Bruce's out was the third out of the inning, and the player in the batting order following Bruce—Adrian Gonzalez—led off the top of the second inning, as in 6.03(b)(6) ["When the proper batter is called out because he has failed to bat in turn, the next batter shall be the batter whose name follows that of the proper batter thus called out"]. When the top of the order came around again in the third inning, Nimmo led off, Cabrera properly batted second, Flores batted third, and Bruce hit fourth.

The official order given at the plate meeting.
Had the Mets realized Flores or Cabrera were batting out of turn during their respective at-bats, the team could have sent the correct batter to the plate to resume hitting with no penalty pursuant to Rule 6.03(b)(2): "The proper batter may take his place in the batter’s box at any time before the improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and any balls and strikes shall be counted in the proper batter's time at bat."

Had there been any runners on base, 6.03(b)(4) would apply: "If a runner advances, while the improper batter is at bat, on a stolen base, balk, wild pitch or passed ball, such advance is legal."

In 2013, Dodgers Bench Coach Trey Hillman directed Manager Don Mattingly to appeal to HP Umpire Tony Randazzo that Giants batter Buster Posey had hit a double while batting out of turn; as a result, the double was nullified and the proper batter, Pablo Sandoval, was declared out.
Related PostRule 6.07: Batting Out of Order, Timely Appeal Cost Giants (7/7/13).

In 2016, Nationals Manager Dusty Baker successfully appealed to UIC Cory Blaser that Brewers batter Ryan Braun had hit a single while batting in place of proper batter Jonathan Lucroy.
Related PostBatting Out of Turn in DC Erases Brewers Single in 1st (7/4/16).

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Analysis of out-of-turn appeal sequence with detailed rule explanation (UEFL) Second Video: Mets called for batting out of order following successful Reds' appeal (CIN)


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