This Ground Ball To The Pitcher was Ruled a Hit! The Rulebook Allowed It…
Trea Turner of the Nationals came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning on May 2, 2021, when the Nats hosted the Marlins. After fouling off several pitches, Marlins pitcher, Zach Pop induced a slow comebacker which looked like an easy out to end the inning. However, after Pop fielded the ball he went into slo-motion and proceeded to flip an eephus type throw to first base. The throw was off line and pulled the first baseman off the base. Turner was safe but he probably would have beaten the throw anyway.
The play was ruled a hit by the official scorer.
You might not agree with the “hit” call by the Official Scorer but you probably don’t know about this overlooked rule:
Rule 9.12(a)(1) Comment: Slow handling of the ball that does not involve mechanical misplay shall not be construed as an error. For example, the Official Scorer shall not charge a fielder with an error if such fielder fields a ground ball cleanly but does not throw to first base in time to retire the batter.
Now what do you say? Hit or Error?
This was an errant throw, it appears he did not have a proper grip on the ball. His off target throw justifies the error. The purpose of the rule is not to credit hits for balls put in play that should have been and out, and not penalize a fielder who played the ball flawlessly. The mechanics of his throw was poor, and proven by it being off line and high. It appears he might of had an improper grip on the ball.
What was the pitcher thinking?
The same rule comment states that “If a throw is low, wide or high, or strikes the ground, and a runner reaches base who otherwise would have been put out by such throw, the Official Scorer shall charge the player making the throw with an error”. The throw was slow and, above all, high and out of reach of the first baseman. In my opinion it is an error all the time.
That’s is a hit. No argument or at all. The pitcher fielded the ball cleanly and the runner hustled down to first. The pitchers effort is irrelevant.
It would be no different if the ball was hit to any infielder and the infielder cleanly fields the ball. But the runner is fast enough to beat the throw.
I totally agree with the call. The batter hustled down the line. He beat the throw. The pitcher didn’t make a good play but we can’t take that away from the batter.
I completely disagree with the call. First, the play was an ordinary effort for any pitcher, not only an “average” pitcher, even at lower level baseball categories. Second, the throw is competely out of target (wild throw) so the pitcher would have been able to retire the batter-runner with an accurate throw. Rule 9.12(a)(5)
The interpretation of this play is misleading as it will never allow the scorer to assign an error. Ordinary effort should be the main guideline to follow.
Roberto, you’re not following the rule. If the fielder takes too long to make a throw or throws the ball too slowly to get the runner, there is no error, by rule. It has nothing to do with ordinary effort.
Yes, this was a horrible play by the pitcher. He takes his time and lobs the ball way too slowly to get the runner. Watch the video again — even if that lob throw was on target, Turner would have beat the throw easily. Therefore, it’s a hit.
The fact that the throw is inaccurate is irrelevant here because the scorekeeper correctly judged that the runner would have beaten the throw even if it was on target.
The idea of the rule is that misjudging the speed of the runner should not result in an error. We’ve seen many times where an infielder takes too much time or throws too softly to retire a runner and the runner beats the throw. It is always scored a hit, and we commend the runner for his speed and hustle. This play is just an exaggeration of this type of situation.