Saturday, April 6, 2024

MLB Ejection 005 - Brennan Miller (1; David Popkins)

HP Umpire Brennan Miller ejected Twins hitting coach David Popkins (strike two and three calls to Matt Wallner; QOCN) in the bottom of the 4th inning of the #Guardians-#Twins game. With two out and none on, Twins batter Matt Wallner took a 3-1 slider and 3-2 sinker from Guardians pitcher Nick Sandlin for called second and third strikes. Replays indicate the 3-1 pitch was located over the inner edge of home plate and below the hollow of the knee (px 0.71, pz 1.53 [sz_bot 1.87 / RAD 1.75 / MOE 1.67]) while 3-2 was located over the inner edge of home plate and at the hollow of the knee (px 0.80, pz 1.68 [sz_bot 1.87, RAD 1.75 / MOE 1.67]), the call was incorrect. At the time of the ejection, the Guardians were leading, 3-1. The Guardians ultimately won the contest, 3-1.

This is Brennan Miller (55)'s 1st ejection of 2023.
Meanwhile, in Anaheim, HP Umpire Alex Tosi was nearly perfect, calling 173 of 174 taken pitches in accordance with the computer. The one disputed pitch was located within our margin of error.

This is the 5th ejection report of the 2024 MLB regular season.
This is the 1st coach ejection of 2024. Ejection Tally: 1 Manager, 1 Coach, 3 Players.
This is Minnesota's 1st ejection of 2023, 1st in the AL Central (MIN 1; CLE, CWS, DET, KC 0).
This is David Popkins' 1st ejection since August 24, 2023 (Cory Blaser; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Brennan Miller's 1st ejection since Sept 9, 2023 (Alejo Lopez; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Angel's Swinging Strike Call & the Unreviewable Play

Detroit manager AJ Hinch argued after being told he couldn't challenge HP Umpire Angel Hernandez's foul tip call in the 11th inning in New York because Hernandez's on-field ruling that batter Spencer Torkelson swung at the pitch is not a reviewable play.

In Ejection 003 - Vic Carapazza (1; Dylan Moore), we discussed how check swing decisions—specifically whether or not the batter struck at a pitch—are not reviewable. In that game, Cleveland successfully challenged that batter Ramón Laureano was hit by a pitch, with Replay Review awarding Laureano first base as a result. Seattle had contended Laureano swung at the ball as it touched him, which the on-field umpires did not call (the crew ruled Laureano did not swing at the pitch), so the scope of the replay solely focused on whether the ball struck the batter or not. Finding that it did, the natural award was first base, relying on the umpires' on-field "no swing" ruling.

In Ejection 004 - Mike Muchlinski (1; Derek Shelton), we concentrated on the mechanics of calling a check swing, finding that the home plate umpire bears primary responsibility with such a play, and if they deem that the batter did in fact swing at the pitch, then by rule they are supposed to unilaterally call the swing from behind the plate (not appeal to a field umpire). The first and third base umpires may rule on appeal when the plate umpire calls "no swing" but not when the plate umpire calls a strike (by swing or by location).

Putting these lessons together brings us to Thursday in New York, when HP Umpire Hernandez called a foul tip on Tigers batter Torkelson in the 11th inning. While Detroit initially sought to challenge this call, alleging the pitched ball touched batter Torkelson's hands and not the bat, the umpires informed manager Hinch that due to Hernandez's ruling that Torkelson did indeed swing, the play was not reviewable.

This is correct, in part, and not entirely correct, in part. First, we know that Replay cannot review whether or not a batter has attempted to strike a pitch (swing/no swing is not reviewable). But, there is an ever-so-slight difference between the on-field ruling of foul tip and what the Tigers allege happened, which is a pitched ball touching the batter. Add in Hernandez's call " he struck at it" and we find the difference Replay could make here is between a foul tip—a live ball—and a dead ball strike (obviously, a dead ball).

In this situation, it doesn't sound like much of a difference, but had the catcher tried to pick off a runner and either retired the runner or overthrew the fielder, allowing runners to advance, the live vs dead ball call would loom large. On a foul tip (live ball), the runner could be deemed out or could advance to score a run on the catcher's throwing error, while on a dead ball (dead ball strike), no further action could occur and any pickoff attempts would be nullified.

Jeff McNeil & Angel Hernandez Disagree About Time Out

Mets batter Jeff McNeil and HP Umpire Angel Hernandez exchanged words in the bottom of the 6th inning of New York's Thursday matinee vs Detroit over a pitch clock rule-related "Time" out request, an instance of confusion increasingly spreading throughout baseball when batters—restricted to one "Time" request per at-bat—and umpires can't seem to agree as to when said batter actually wants to use their allotted pause.

During McNeil's 6th inning at-bat, Tigers pitcher Joey Wentz committed a pitch timer violation on the 1-2 pitch, failing to start his delivery prior to the expiration of time. After a subsequent curveball in the dirt, McNeil turned to speak with Hernandez, which the umpire took as a request for "Time", signaling as much as McNeil replied he hadn't asked for time out.

This situation resolved without consequence—McNeil walked on the next pitch—but as we know from the Seoul Series and HP Umpire Andy Fletcher's pitch timer violation strikeout for excessive time out requests by Padres batter Xander Bogaerts, crossed wires can produce at-bat defining consequences.

My proposal to fix this miscommunication malady is simple: implement a protocol that requires batters to visually request "Time" by raising a hand with open palm facing the umpire. This way, there (ideally) will be no confusion of whether a batter verbally requested "Time" or was commenting on something else.

Video as follows:

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

MLB Ejection 004 - Mike Muchlinski (1; Derek Shelton)

HP Umpire Mike Muchlinski ejected Pirates manager Derek Shelton (check swing strike three call) in the top of the 7th inning of the #Pirates-#Nationals game. With two out and one on, Pirates batter Bryan Reynolds attempted to check his swing on a 3-2 splitter from Nationals pitcher Hunter Harvey, ruled a swinging strike by Muchlinski. At the time of the ejection, the Nationals were leading, 5-3. The Nationals ultimately won the contest, 5-3.

This is Mike Muchlinski (76)'s 1st ejection of 2023.

This is the 4th ejection report of the 2024 MLB regular season.
This is the 1st manager ejection of 2024.
This is Pittsburgh's 1st ejection of 2023, 1st in the NL Central (PIT 1; CHC, CIN, MIL, STL 0).
This is Derek Shelton's 1st ejection since August 13, 2023 (Nic Lentz; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Mike Muchlinski's 1st ejection since May 14, 2023 (Matt Blake; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

Monday, April 1, 2024

MLB Ejection 003 - Vic Carapazza (1; Dylan Moore)

2B Umpire Vic Carapazza ejected Mariners bench player Dylan Moore (check swing no-call by 1B Umpire Adam Hamari and HBP Replay Review during Ramón Laureano's at-bat) in the top of the 3rd inning of the #Guardians-#Mariners game. With none out and none on, Laureano attempted to check his swing on a 1-2 changeup from Mariners pitcher Emerson Hancock, ruled a fair ball by HP Umpire Mark Ripperger who adjudged that the pitched ball hit Laureano's bat and bounced into fair territory, resulting in an out, and ruled "no swing" on appeal by 1B Umpire Hamari. Upon Replay Review as the result of a challenge by Guardians manager Stephen Vogt, the call was overturned to a hit-by-pitch, as the baseball was ruled to have first made contact with Laureano's hand; due to Hamari's "no swing" call, the result of the play was a hit-by-pitch with Laureano awarded first base (as opposed to a dead ball strike [strike three]). At the time of the ejection, the Mariners were leading, 4-0.

This is Vic Carapazza (19)'s 1st ejection of 2024.

This is the 3rd ejection report of the 2024 MLB regular season.
This is the 3rd player ejection of 2024. Prior to ejection, Moore did not appear in this game.
This is Seattle's 1st ejection of 2023, 1st in the AL West (SEA 1; HOU, LAA, OAK, TEX 0).
This is Dylan Moore's 1st career MLB ejection.
This is Vic Carapazza's 1st ejection since August 7, 2023 (Matt Quatraro; QOC = U]).

Savannah Bananas Rules Analysis - April 1 Edition

By popular demand, we analyze a few quirky plays from the off-beat baseball experience known as the Savannah Bananas. Which of their peculiar stunts are legal in a regulation game? Stick around for a rules analysis to find out.

Where applicable, we provide citations to rules and links to prior videos we may have done on the related plays.

Video as follows: