How did Giancarlo Stanton strike out after being removed from the game?
In tonight’s Brewers/Marlins matchup, there was a horrific scene in the top of the 5th inning, where Giancarlo Stanton got hit square in the face with a fastball. There was a delay and he ended up getting carted away from the field. The below is just a still pic, as I would need to have put a warning on this page if I linked to the video. (If you haven’t seen it, don’t. Just use your imagination, it won’t be as scary).
But the umpire ruled that Stanton had actually attempted to swing at the pitch, so instead of being awarded first base, the pitch just became strike 2. (Note: This site is about scoring rules, not umpiring rules, but this is a correct ruling if the umpire did deem that Stanton had swung). So, a pinch hitter was needed to finish the at-bat, and Reed Johnson was summoned. Johnson swung at the first pitch he saw (which ironically also hit him) and after a check-swing appeal was ruled out on strikes.
BUT, if you look at the boxscore, you will not see Reed Johnson striking out (or even having a plate appearance) in the 5th inning. And at some point while Mr. Stanton was in the back of an emergency vehicle being rushed to the hospital, he had a strikeout added to his record.
WHY? Well, Rule 10.15(b) says
When a batter leaves the game with two strikes against him, and the substitute batter completes a strikeout, the official scorer shall charge the strikeout and the time at bat to the first batter. If the substitute batter completes the turn at bat in any other manner, including a base on balls, the official scorer shall score the action as having been that of the substitute batter.
Pretty black and white, and I think it makes sense. It would be unfair to give Reed Johnson the strikeout when he inherited an 0-2 count. Conversely, if he hit a homerun, he would get full credit for that. Stanton would have done nothing to earn that hit.
There is a similar rule for pitchers. It is Rule 10.16(h) and it is slightly more convoluted, but in the same spirit:
A relief pitcher shall not be held accountable when the first batter to whom he pitches reaches first base on four called balls if such batter has a decided advantage in the ball and strike count when pitchers are changed.
(1) If, when pitchers are changed, the count is
2 balls, no strike,
2 balls, 1 strike,
3 balls, no strike,
3 balls, 1 strike,
3 balls, 2 strikes,
and the batter gets a base on balls, the official scorer shall charge that batter and the base on balls to the preceding pitcher, not to the relief pitcher.
(2) Any other action by such batter, such as reaching base on a hit, an error, a fielder’s choice, a force-out, or being touched by a pitched ball, shall cause such a batter to be charged to the relief pitcher.
Again, I think this is fair. If a relief pitcher comes in with a 3-0 count, you wouldn’t want to charge him with a subsequent walk. Of course, if he comes in with 0-2 and walks the batter, then he should (and does) get charged with the walk.
So, there are rules in place to account for these rare situations. But it still looks odd when you look at a boxscore and see Stanton striking out, when you know he was nowhere near the stadium when the stirkeout occurred.
Wishing a quick recovery to Giancarlo Staton.