May 9, 2024

Manager Takes Away a Run from His Team

Mike Shildt takes the penalty instead of a run

Manager Takes Away a Run from His Team

The Reds and Padres played at Petco Park on April 30, 2024 when Padres manager Mike Shildt took away a run from his team, an unlikely scenario since managers do what they can to manufacture runs for their team. But thanks to the multi-layered catcher’s interference rule, in a certain situation managers have the option of taking the play following the interference call or the penalty which is to award the batter first base and allow any runner on base to advance one base only “if forced.”

If the batter and all runners advance one base when catcher’s interference is called, the interference is nullified. If all runners do not advance one base when the ball is put in play, the manager of the offensive team can take the play or the penalty. Shildt decided to take the penalty which took away a run but gave him an extra out which led to a 6-4 Padres victory. Here is what happened.

With one out in the fifth inning and the Padres leading 1-0, the Padres had Tyler Wade on third and Fernando Tatis Jr. on first when Jake Cronenworth hit what appeared to be an RBI groundout to second base scoring Wade. But plate umpire Cory Blaser ruled catcher’s interference on Reds’ catcher Luke Maile. This was the perfect storm for Shildt to be in the position of taking the play or the penalty because all runners did not advance one base on the play since Cronenworth was called out. If Shildt took the play, Wade would score giving the Padres a 2-0 lead and Tatis Jr. would be on second base with two outs. If the Padres’ skipper took the penalty, Wade would not score because he was not forced on the play. The bases would be loaded with one out and Manny Machado at bat with the Padres leading, 1-0.

So, with Machado, a career .827 OPS player due up next, Shildt’s decision was to take the penalty. This would negate the run and would keep Wade on third, Tatis Jr. on second, and Cronenworth on first with one out.

Shildt wisely decided to play his cards by betting on Machado with the bases loaded and one out.

As it turned out, Machado roped Nick Martinez’s first-pitch sinker to left-center field for a bases-clearing double giving the Padres a 4-0 lead. Informed of his manager’s words after the game, Machado was clearly appreciative.

“That’s Shildty,” Machado said. “It’s just the confidence he’s been giving us all year. It truly speaks volumes.”

BTW- FanGraphs’ run expectancy matrix supports Shildt’s decision.  With the bases loaded and one out, a team is expected to score 1.520 runs in an inning. With a man on second and two outs, a team is expected to score 0.305 — in addition to the one the Padres had already scored, meaning an average of 1.305.

Of course, the run expectancy matrix doesn’t account for the next batter following the interference call. If the batter’s name is Machado, it’s a good idea to take away the run and opt for the penalty.

“That was a big part of the calculus,” Shildt said. “… I’ll take my shot with Manny. It really wasn’t that hard a decision.”

It should be noted that the manager of the offensive team must initiate the conference with the plate umpire if he wants to take the play. If there is no meeting, the umpire will invoke the penalty aspect of the rule which is to award the batter first base and advance any runner on base one base, if forced.  If the manager intends to take the penalty, there is no need to meet with the plate umpire. But to be sure, I would recommend that the manager of the offensive team should always meet with the plate umpire when the situation arises when there’s an option.

Rich Marazzi

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

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