Mike Scioscia correctly protests Houston Astros’ pitching change; Umpires were wrong
An MLB spokesman said on Friday that the umpires made a mistake by allowing the Houston Astros to make a pitching change in the seventh inning of Thursday’s Angels-Astros game, a move that was protested by Mike Scioscia.
The Astros were up 5-3 in the top of the seventh. Paul Clemens had just walked Chris Ianetta to put runners on first and second with two outs. Left-handed batter J.B. Shuck was coming up, so Houston decided to bring in lefty relief pitcher Wesley Wright. Scioscia decided to counter by pinch-hitting for Shuck with right-handed batter Luis Jimenez.
This is what led to the error.
Astros manager Bo Porter responded to Scioscia’s move by going back to his bullpen to have right-handed Hector Ambriz come in. However, he did not have Wright pitch to a batter, which is required when a reliever is brought in.
Rule 3.05(B) states:
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.
With Ambriz coming in, Scioscia also made a change and subbed out Jimenez for lefty Scott Cousins, who popped out to end the inning.
Ambriz gave up two runs the following inning and was charged for a third run, which was the winning run.
MLB says it is reviewing the matter. I’m not really sure what there is to review — the umpires made a big mistake and MLB confirmed it. Scioscia knew the rule. It’s shocking that the umpires didn’t.