Sunday, September 5, 2021

Dodgers Score Balk Run As Giants Fails to Declare Windup

For the second night in a row, Dodgers baserunner Justin Turner scored from third base after a Giants rules snafu in San Francisco. This time, after Turner advanced to third on a wild pitch, 3B Umpire Adam Hamari called Giants pitcher Jose Quintana for a balk after he pitched from Windup Position, having started the play in Set.

The relevant rule is OBR 5.07(a)(2) Comment, which states, "With a runner or runners on base, a pitcher will be presumed to be pitching from the Set Position if they stand with their pivot foot in contact with and parallel to the pitcher’s plate, and their other foot in front of the pitcher’s plate, unless they notify the umpire that they will be pitching from the Windup Position under such circumstances prior to the beginning of an at-bat [or after a runner advances during an at-bat]."

Replays indicate Quintana successfully delivered a wild pitch to Los Angeles batter Cory Seager while Turner was on second base while working out of Set Position, but that Quintana attempted to change to a Windup delivery when Turner was on third base, without having declared such intention.

In order to determine Quintana's pitching position as Set, we note that Quintana's pivot foot was in contact with and parallel to the rubber while his free foot was in front of it. With OBR 5.07(a)(2) Comment instructing umpires to presume Set Position if the pitcher engages the rubber in this fashion, unless the pitcher declares otherwise, 3B Umpire Hamari properly called a balk on Quintana for delivering a pitch using a Windup delivery (signified by taking a step backward with his free foot before throwing to home plate). For example, illegal pitches, such as in Rule 6.02(a)(5), are balks.

One night earlier, the Giants similarly flubbed a rule that eventually allowed Turner to score a run when catcher Buster Posey tagged an already-retired runner as part of a two runners, one base entitlement situation.


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