This is the first installment of what I hope will be a periodic series, explaining the “how” and “why” of less commonly-seen plays.
This week, I’m using a few actual plays from last weekend’s series between the Newark Bears and New Jersey Jackals. If you’ve got any unusual plays you’re curious about, feel free to email me or ask about them in the comments so I’ll have something to write about next week.
Bases loaded, none out. Bryan Sabatella hits a fly ball to short right field, and second baseman Juan Martinez races out to catch it. The runners on second and third tag up and advance after the catch. How do you score the play?
Sabatella is credited with a sacrifice fly, a run batted in and no time at bat. While sacrifice flies are most commonly caught by outfielders, they don’t have to be.
Rule 10.08 (d): Score a sacrifice fly when, before two are out, the batter hits a ball in flight handled by an outfielder or an infielder running in the outfield in fair or foul territory that
(1) is caught, and a runner scores after the catch, or
(2) is dropped, and a runner scores, if in the scorer’s judgment the runner could have scored after the catch had the fly been caught.
Runners on first and third, none out. Chris Henderson hits a fly ball to left fielder Bryce Lane that lands in his glove and pops out. Lane picks up the ball and throws to second base, in time to retire Steve Caseres, the baserunner advancing from first. Henderson reaches safely at first. How do you score the play?
Henderson is charged with a time at bat and does not get credit for a hit. Lane is not charged with an error.
Rule 10.05(b)(1): The official scorer shall not credit a base hit when a runner is forced out by a batted ball, or would have been forced out except for a fielding error;
Rule 10.12(d)(4): The official scorer shall not charge an error against any fielder when, after fumbling a ground ball or dropping a batted ball that is in flight or a thrown ball, the fielder recovers the ball in time to force out a runner at any base;
This next one isn’t really a scorekeeping question, it’s about the Designated Hitter rule.
Designated hitter Gaetano Giunta replaces second baseman Matt Cusick, who is batting fourth. Jimmer Kennedy enters the game in relief of pitcher Jake Hale. What happens to the batting order?
Kennedy takes over Cusick’s spot in the batting order. (Kennedy did actually come up to bat in the ninth inning, to the confusion of everyone in the ballpark including the PA announcer. Predictably, he struck out.)
Rule 6.10(b)(5) The Designated Hitter may be used on defense, continuing to bat in the same position in the batting order, but the pitcher must then bat in the place of the substituted defensive player, unless more than one substitution is made, and the manager then must designate their spots in the batting order.
Other interesting Designated Hitter oddities:
- The Designated Hitter named in the original starting lineup must come to bat at least once, unless the opposing team changes pitchers [Rule 6.10(b)(2)]
- If the Game Pitcher is switched to a position on defense, that terminates the Designated Hitter role for the rest of the game [Rule 6.10(b)(8)]
- The Game Pitcher can pinch hit for the Designated Hitter, but that terminates the use of the Designated Hitter for the rest of the game. [Rule 6.10(b)(10)]