The San Francisco Giants used 54 different batting orders (not counting the pitcher) coming into their game Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their 55th order is one they hope never to repeat.
Stepping to the plate in the top of the first inning as the No. 3 hitter, slugger Buster Posey lined what he thought was a one-out RBI double. But after Posey's at-bat, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly stepped onto the field and told umpires that Posey was supposed to bat cleanup. Pablo Sandoval should have hit third. The Giants had batted out of order, violating rule 6.07. They were so busted.
"In the middle of (Posey's) at-bat, I was questioning if I was losing it."
The blunder didn't prevent the Giants from beating the Dodgers 4-2. But oh, if it had ...
So what does Major League Baseball do when such a paradox occurs? Via MLB.com:
Because of the Giants' mistake, Gregor Blanco -- who had scored on Posey's double -- returned to the bases, Sandoval was charged with a groundout to Dodgers catcher Tim Federowicz and Posey returned to the plate, where he flied out to right to end the inning.
Regardless of how good of a hitter Posey is, it just doesn't work to the Giants favor when he bats two times in row. So how does this happen? The Giants were shocked when Posey was made to bat again. Fox TV had put a microphone on umpire Tony Randazzo, and Posey could be heard saying to him:
"I'm third everywhere, the clubhouse, scoreboard."
Almost everywhere, anyhow. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says pitching coach Dave Righetti has a theory as to what went wrong:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 7, 2013
Rosenthal is telling the truth:
Ah ha! These kids today and their "newfangled" electronics. The clubhouses at AT&T Park, near the heart of the Silicon Valley cult, are too technologically advanced.
Whatever Righetti means, there is another reason the Giants batted out of order, and it had nothing to do with microchips: Manager Bruce Bochy (and/or his coaching staff) just messed up.
Posey usually has batted third since June 7, though he hit cleanup Friday night in the series opener. Bochy told reporters that he had planned to move Posey back to fourth because the team — coincidentally or not — had played better when he batted cleanup. Many copies of the lineup are made before a game, but the only one that matters is the one CC'd to the opponent and the umpires. Bochy, or a coach, made a mistake. It's the kind that almost never happens, but when it does, it makes a mess.
If only the Giants had realized their mistake even during Posey's plate appearance. The rules would have allowed them to send Sandoval up there to finish the at-bat. But they didn't, and it allowed Mattingly to avenge (sort of) his mistake three years ago when he made too many mound visits in a game against the Giants.
Take that, Giants!