August 1, 2023

Appeal Play at Third Base

Boston appealed that Riley failed to tag-up at third

Appeal Play at Third Base

The Braves and Red Sox met at Fenway Park on July 25, 2023.

In the top of the first inning, the Braves had Austin Riley on third, Matt Olson on second, and Sean Murphy on first with one out when Marcell Ozuna hit a low line drive to Sox second baseman Christian Arroyo. Second base umpire Mike Estabrook called Ozuna out. Arroyo then made a failed attempt to double-up Olson at second.  The Red Sox second baseman then threw wild past first base allowing Olson and Murphy to each advance one base.

Following a time out, Boston appealed that Riley failed to tag-up at third. The appeal went from pitcher John Schreiber to third baseman Rafael Devers. Third base umpire Andy Fletcher upheld the appeal and Riley was called out and his run was nullified.

Ruleball Comments

  1. It appears that second base umpire Mike Estabrook made the proper call but was it emphatic enough to signal Riley and the Braves’ third base coach that the putout was made at second base?
  2. If the Red Sox were aware of the situation, they should have made a continuous action appeal from Arroyo to Devers without getting the ball to Schreiber and making an appeal from the rubber.
  3. I was able to see plate umpire Erich Bacchus call “Time.” Was time requested by a Red Sox player? If not, I would question the calling of “Time” since that would force the defensive team to make the appeal from the mound and allow the offensive team to break the runners and disrupt the appeal.  
  4. While the Red Sox were about to appeal the play at third base, Olson and Murphy could have attempted to advance to home and third base respectfully. If Schreiber made a play on either runner, the Red Sox would have lost the right to appeal Riley’s failure to tag-up and the run would score.
  5. Another possible wrinkle here. Let’s say after Arroyo caught the line drive for the second out, he doubled-up Murphy at first for the third out. The Red Sox could then appeal Riley at third base for the “fourth out” which would negate the run.  If there is no “fourth out” appeal the run would score if Riley crossed the plate before the third out was recorded even though he never tagged-up.
  6. The defensive team has the right to appeal until all infielders leave fair territory.

Rich Marazzi

Rules consultant/analyst:  Angels, D’backs, Dodgers, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Rangers, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Yankees, Bally Sports, YES, and NBC Sports Chicago.  

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