Another night, another disaster for the umpires in Angels-Astros game
Just one day after the brouhaha over crew chief Angel Hernandez and Co. missing a game-tying home run call in the A’s-Indians game and then getting it wrong even after looking at the video, there was an even more unbelievable umpiring gaffe in Houston.
In the top of the seventh inning, rookie Astros manager Bo Porter brought in pitcher lefty Wesley Wright to replace righthander Paul Clemens. Before Wright could throw a pitch, Porter went to the bulpen again, this time for righty Hector Ambriz in an effort to gain the platoon advantage against the Angels, who were sending a pinch-hitter to the plate. Unfortunately, it’s against the rules to take a pitcher out before he’s faced a batter (unless the pitcher is injured).
Here is Rule 3.05b: “If the pitcher is replaced, the substitute pitcher shall pitch to the batter then at bat, or any substitute batter, until such batter is put out or reaches first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire-in-chief’s judgment, incapacitates him for further play as a pitcher.”
Somehow, all four umpires — Adrian Johnson, Fieldin Culbreth, Brian O’Nora and Bill Welke — missed one of the oldest rules in baseball.
An incredulous Mike Scioscia came out of the Angels dugout to explain the rule to the umps who huddled twice and still didn’t correct their — and Porter’s — mistake. Scioscia played the game under protest but his team went on to a 6-5 win.