Mentioned this in the recaps but it deserves its own post, if for no other reason than because watching Larry Bowa in vintage arguing form is so satisfying.
In the seventh, Mets reliever Hansel Robles quick-pitched Darin Ruf, who clearly wasn’t ready for the ball. Robles said after the game that the ump had pointed at him which means “go ahead.” You can’t see that in this replay as the ump is already in the crouch, but the ump does sorta try to stop the pitch with the hands-up “time out” motion. Not that he was too emphatic about it:
[mlbvideo id=”410551983″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]
Quick pitches often get lumped in with the so-called “unwritten rules.” Even Mets manager Terry Collins thinks they are, it seems, as after the game he said “Until they make the (quick) pitch illegal, you can do it.” But the fact is, they are illegal. From Rule 8 of the MLB rules:
Rule 8.01(b) Comment: With no runners on base, the pitcher is not required to come to a complete stop when using the Set Position. If, however, in the umpires judgment, a pitcher delivers the ball in a deliberate effort to catch the batter off guard, this delivery shall be deemed a quick pitch, for which the penalty is a ball. See Rule 8.05(e) Comment.
. . .
Rule 8.05(e) Comment: A quick pitch is an illegal pitch. Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batters box. With runners on base the penalty is a balk; with no runners on base, it is a ball. The quick pitch is dangerous and should not be permitted.
Of course the rule is rarely enforced. I can’t ever remember seeing a ball or a balk called due to a quick pitch. And, as my Mets fan friends tell me this morning, Mets pitchers have been doing it a lot this year.
If it is becoming more common, baseball needs to enforce the rule. Because while, yes, they want the pace of the game sped up and for batters to quit farting around in the box, it’s not at all safe for pitchers to throw a 90 m.p.h.+ fastball in the direction of a guy who is not looking for it.