Category Archives: Did you know?

How to score automatic putouts?


Unfortunately this article doesn’t cover this case!  Boxscore just shows a routine putout to Mr. Knoblauch!

There are many instances in which a player is called out, and no fielder actually made an out.  (For example, when a batter is called out on appeal for batting out of order.)

I will list all the possible situations and how to score them below.  There are many different scenarios, and most of them occur so rarely that it is difficult for a scorekeeper to know them all and be able to score them correctly in real time.  But, once you understand the rationale behind them it becomes easy. These three key points are all you need to remember in most cases:

  1. Credit the catcher with a putout for any outs recorded on what I will call “technicalities”. e.g., batting out of order, illegally batted ball, being touched by own batted ball.
  2. Credit the fielder closest to the runner for any outs that are called on the runner where neither him nor a base are tagged. e.g., running out of the base line, interfering with a fielder, passing another runner
  3. Credit the fielder closest to the ball for any automatic outs that are due to something that happened with the ball. e.g., uncaught infield fly, runner touched by a batted ball

Here is a list of all the possible scenarios – from Rules 10.09 (b) and (c) and 10.10 (a):

Putout to catcher in these situations:

  • batter called out for illegally batted ball
  • batter out for bunting an uncaught foul with 2 strikes
  • batter out for being touched by his own batted ball
  • batter out for interfering with catcher
  • batter out for failing to bat in proper order
  • batter out for refusing to go to 1st base after an automatic award (e.g., walk)
  • runner out for refusing to go from 3rd base to home (e.g., on a bases loaded walk)

Putout to fielder closest to runner:

  • runner called out for running out of baseline to avoid a tag
  • runner called out for passing another runner
  • runner called out for interfering with a fielder not in act of throwing a ball

Putout to fielder closest to ball:

  • infield fly ball not caught (actually putout to who you think should have caught the ball)
  • runner called out due to being touched by batted ball

Other scenarios:

  • runner is called out for running the bases in reverse order – credit  putout to fielder covering the base the runner left in starting his reverse run
  • batter called out due to interference by another baserunner – putout to first baseman, assist to fielder interfered
  • runner called out for interfering with a fielder throwing the ball – assist to fielder, putout to whomever the throw was intended for



Runners passing on bases

umpsSo this happened to me the other day. Not while scorekeeping, but unfortunately while umpiring a college game. Luckily this blog isn’t about game rules, so I’m not going to comment on whether me and my partners got the ruling completely correct (hint: we didn’t).

There were runners on 1st and 2nd when the batter hit a deep fly ball to centerfield.  The runner on 1st went halfway while the runner on 2nd tagged up.  The centerfielder got to the ball on the run (which caused the runner who was halfway between 1st and 2nd to start going back to 1st) and then he dropped the ball… which caused the batter to round 1st base at full speed. And yes, the batter passed the runner.  This is a fairly rare occurrence, which happens in the MLB about once every couple of years or so (here is a complete list thanks to The correct ruling is that the player who is passing the other runner (in this case the batter) is out immediately and the play continues on.  But how do you score that?

Well, the batter still gets credit for a hit. After all he made it to first base safely. And if any runs score on the play he gets the corresponding RBIs too. But who gets credit for the putout?

Scoring rule 10.08 (c) (4) says “When a runner is called out for passing another runner, the official scorer shall credit the putout to the fielder nearest the point of passing”.  So in this case, the first baseman gets credit for a putout… while the centerfielder was chasing down a ball in the outfield.

By the way, here is a recent example where Nelson Cruz got called out for passing the runner. Both he and the runner on 1st thought the ball had been caught, so the runner stayed at first, and Cruz went toward 1st before heading towards the dugout and at that point he crossed the runner and was ruled out.

Seemed to be as much confusion as in the game I officiated, so I don’t feel too bad.

TWO games end with runner hit by batted ball! How do you score that???

On Saturday there were a couple of rare instances of a runner being hit by a batted ball. More coincidentally, they both happened with two outs in the 9th inning, ending the game, as the batting teams were mounting comebacks. What are the odds of that? I don’t know, this isn’t a stats blog (maybe I’ll create one someday?), but runners hit by batted balls is infrequent enough, happening twice in one day is exponentally rarer, and having it possibly cost your team a game in the 9th….

Anyhow here are the detais of the first occurrence. The Giants were leading the Angels 5-2 heading into the 9th. Anaheim LA  rallied to make it 5-3 and had runners on 1st and 2nd when David Freese singled to make it 5-4 with runners on the corners.  Since Freese was the potential winning run, he was pinchran for by rookie utility infielder Taylor Featherston as Matt Joyce came to the plate. And then this happened:

Wow! What a way to kill a rally. The pinch runner gets hit with the batted ball. By rule he is out, and the batter is awarded first base, and no other runners can advance unless forced. So how do we score that? Well, it’s a hit for Matt Joyce, but who gets the putout?

According to rule 10.09 (c) (2) “The official scorer shall credit automatic putouts….when a runner is called out for being touched by a fair ball …credit the putout to the fielder nearest the ball.”

So in this case, the official scorer credited second baseman Joe Panik with the putout.

Meanwhile the other LA team was the beneficiary of a simiar play.  They had come back in the 7th and 8th innings to take a 6-4 lead over the Diamondbacks. In the 9th Arizona had a runner on first which brought the tying run to the plate. And it was David Peralta who could easily tie the game with a swing of the bat. Tension was mouning at Chavez Ravine. Peralta hit the ball solidly up the middle and…

This one wasn’t quite as obvious as the Angels runner, but the ball does deflect slightly off of Jordan Pacheco and you can see 2nd base umpire Jeff Kellogg clearly point to the runner and indicate he is out for interference, ending the game.  And as in the Giants game, the second baseman (Howie Kendrick) also got credit for the putout.

That’s two putouts for second basemen who didn’t touch the ball to save a game for their teams, on the same day!

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. Read the rest of this entry

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