The Curious Case of the Rays’ Eighth Inning

If you looked at the eighth inning play-by-play of Wednesday’s game between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, you might have spotted something unusual, though not that unusual:

The unusual part is that Adam Kolarek pitched to two batters in the inning but did not do so consecutively. This isn’t that unusual. The Rays have employed a similar strategy before. Joe Madden has done it with the Cubs. Whitey Herzog did it with the Cardinals back in the 1980s. It may be unconventional, but it isn’t against the rules. It should not cause great delays in games. It did, however, cause an issue in this game. After Kolarek had moved to first base, Chaz Roe got Mookie Betts to fly out for the second out of the frame. Then Kolarek moved from first back to the mound, and trouble ensued.

Instead of seeing baseball on their screens, fans saw baseball types standing around.

The umps are befuddled:

Alex Cora is mad:

Kevin Cash isn’t mad, he’s just disappointed:

The umps don’t want to hear anymore from either manager and start a silent disco:

Finally, Angel Hernandez goes to the Red Sox dugout to see if Alex Cora really does have BINGO:

The switch was a little tricky, but come on. It shouldn’t have taken this long. To give some sense of how lengthy the delay was, go read my piece where I predicted what will happen at the trade deadline with scenarios for all 30 teams. Back? Good. Now listen to one of your favorite songs of standard radio single length, let’s say “American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Finished? Okay, now back to the game action:

One pitch and one out to end the inning. Commercial break and then back to more game action, right? I have bad news:

So what did everyone think of the silent disco?

Some spicy lineup card action:

Someone just asked Alex Cora if his refrigerator was running:

Can I interest you in a different lineup card?

The Rays dugout is absolutely riveted:

Maybe they missed seeing the lineup card the first time?

In the time between when the pitch that ended the top of the eighth was thrown and the action in the bottom of the eighth actually commenced, you could have read Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel’s announcement that farm system rankings are now on THE BOARD and this Ben Clemens piece on Andrew Miller. In all, fans saw one pitch in about 23 minutes. The delay was not caused by an illegal move per se, but by the umpire’s lineup card not reflecting quickly enough which spot Adam Kolarek was taking in the lineup. That decision would have been up to Kevin Cash if he so chose; otherwise the umpire gets discretion. But Alex Cora believed the umpire didn’t put Kolarek in the lineup at the time of the change and protested the game.

The Rays won 3-2. The rest of us weren’t so lucky.

Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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3 years ago

Pretty certain they are getting ready for some future McKay shenanigans.