September 18, 2022

Catcher Soft Throw Triggers Steal of Home Attempt

Catcher blocking of the plate comes in question on steal attempt of home

Catcher Soft Throw Triggers Steal of Home Attempt

The Dodgers and D’backs played at Chase Field on September 14, 2022. In the bottom of the ninth, with the score tied 2-2, the D’backs had Jake McCarthy on third base and two outs. Corbin Carroll was the batter facing Evan Phillips with a 1-0 count.

The D’backs noticed that Dodgers’ catcher Austin Barnes had been making soft throws back to the pitcher. Following the second pitch to Carroll which was a strike, McCarthy broke for the plate as Barnes nonchalantly tossed the ball to Phillips.

Phillips hurriedly threw home, and McCarthy was called out by umpire Vic Carapazza.

The D’backs challenged the tag call and the home plate collision rule, with the possibility that Barnes was illegally blocking the plate.

The Replay official supported both calls on the field.

Ruleball Comments

  1. The Replay Official could not determine that McCarthy touched home plate prior to Barnes applying the tag. The out call on the field remained.
  2. As for Barnes illegally blocking the plate, the Replay Official determined that no violation of the Home Plate Collision Rule occurred because the speed at which the play developed exempted the catcher from any potential violation.
  3. When a pitcher or a drawn-in infielder throws to the plate, the catcher cannot be expected to have enough time to set in front of the dish. There was no violation of the HP collision rule which was the proper decision.
  4. Some catchers have the bad habit of throwing the ball softly back to the pitcher. With no runners on base, it’s no problem. But with a runner/s on base, this can be costly. If McCarthy was ruled safe, the game would have ended, and Barnes would have been the goat of the game. You can be sure that the Dodgers will address this with Barnes. The D’backs won the game in 10-innings, 5-3.


Rich Marazzi

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

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