Don’t let the door hit ya

Yesterday’s Indians/Cubs game was an absolute smashing by the baby bears. The final score was 17-0. You can see the box score in all of its glory here.

Although the score was lopsided that was not the most interesting thing about the game. The Indians used not one but two position players on the mound in the game. This is usually done in these blowouts to save some arms in the pen. They usually make SportsCenter and a laugh is had by all.

It does have some interesting rule implications in games played in American League parks. AL parks use the designated hitter. In professional baseball, the DH can only bat for a pitcher. In 99.5% of games, the DH stays in the game for the entire game, but under odd circumstances, a team can lose the role of DH for the remainder of the game.

Rule 6.10 (b) – in the old format – discusses the DH.

Here are some of the instances that causes a team to lose the DH:

(8) Once the game pitcher is switched from the mound to a position on defense, such move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for that club for the remainder of the game.

(9) Once a pinch-hitter bats for any player in the batting order and then enters the game to pitch, such move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for that club for the remainder of the game.

10) Once the game pitcher bats or runs for the Designated Hitter, such move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for that club for the remainder of the game. The game pitcher may pinch-hit or pinch-run only for the Designated Hitter.

(12) Once a Designated Hitter assumes a position on defense, such move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for that club for the remainder of the game.

(14) If a player on defense goes to the mound (i.e., replaces the pitcher), this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter’s role for that club for the remainder of the game.

In simple language, if the pitcher assumes any role on offense or if the DH assumes any role on defense, the DH is lost.

This actually happened last night. Next to the name Raburn in the lineup you see positions DH-P. He started as DH, but then he took a role on defense. Even if the Indians would have put in a “normal” pitcher afterwards, he would have had to bat.

Then things got really weird. The Indians brought in another position player to pitch for Raburn. It was David Murphy who was playing left field at the time. So in the official lineup, a player replaced Raburn (the pitcher), took the field in left, and the left fielder took the mound.

Then Kris Bryant hit one about 500 feet to get the Cubs to 17 runs.

The DH is covered on page 47 of RuleGraphics. 

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