Posted May 10, 2013

Another night, another disaster for the umpires in Angels-Astros game

Bad umpiring
Mike Scioscia, Angels

Angels manager Mike Scioscia lost the argument but won the game. (Getty Images)

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.

VERDUCCI: MLB needs to step up on umpiring gaffes

JAFFE: The seven worst things about the missed home run call

4 comments
Mark V.1
Mark V.1

Not only is this a well-known rule, it is common sense.  How four major league umps and one coach got this wrong is beyond me...

BillFontaine
BillFontaine

Why is MLB still depending on ump memory? Doesn't anyone know how to put MLB rules on a tablet? And keep a "rules tablet" available for all to read.

Where was the "review" crew? 

Not only is there a multi-ump failure, there is a system vacuum for rule application. The only goal is to have the umpire's "image" protected.

Silly and very bad management.

Michael22
Michael22

Later, they claimed that the RULE WAS CHANGED but I am not finding the change. Did MLB change the rule and not tell anyone? 

WillJenkins
WillJenkins

This is maddening because this isn't some obscure rule; it's pretty well know!  I'm baffled how Bo Porter and the four umpires didn't know this rule...