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Minimum pitch count2

Minimum pitch count

(OP)
In honor of Justin Verlander's sweep of the American League MVP and Cy Young Awards, here is a baseball question for your consideration.  I apologize in advance for posting a problem that requires knowledge of the rules of baseball, but I can assure you that the knowledge required is minimal.  Even a casual fan knows enough to get the right answer without opening the rule book to section 3, part 1, subparagraph b.

What is the minimum number of pitches a MLB pitcher must throw in order to pitch a complete game?  For the purposes of this question, assume that "complete game" means a game that goes the normal length, and is not called by rain, or any other reason.

RE: Minimum pitch count

Spoiler:

Assuming every batter hits into an out on the first pitch and the pitcher is on the HOME team - 24 pitches.

Randy

RE: Minimum pitch count

Just to give everyone a hint:

Quote (Section 3.01 (b) of the Official MLB Baseball rules):

Be sure that all playing lines (heavy lines on Diagrams No. 1 and No. 2) are marked
with lime, chalk or other white material easily distinguishable from the ground or
grass;

Bye, Olaf.

RE: Minimum pitch count

CODE

25, base ten, by losing pitcher for complete game. The 25th is the single hit HR by home team in bottom of ninth which wins the game for home team. Total min pitches in base Ten for completed 9 inning game = 52.

RE: Minimum pitch count

Hidden:

0
, but not because of anything in rule 3.

--------------
Good Luck
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Minimum pitch count

(OP)
@CajunCenturion

Hidden:

Please clarify.  Is your answer of zero based on the fact that a forfeited game is different than a called game, and that I neglected to specify how forfeited games are to be treated in this puzzle?

RE: Minimum pitch count

Hidden:

The are reasons for a batter to be declared out without having a pitch thrown, such as entering the batter's box with an illegal bat, or switching from the right hand batter's box to the left hand batter's box after the pitcher has begun the pitching motion but before the pitch has been thrown.  If the pitcher stopped his motion, there would be no pitch, but the batter declared out.  Granted, those are extremely abnormal situations, although accounted for in the rules.

Assuming at least one pitch per batter, the fewest pitches that the home team pitcher would throw is 27 as the home team pitcher always must face at least 27 batters.  The home team will always take the field in the top of the ninth.  The fewest pitches the visiting pitcher would throw is 25 because he would not necessarily have to face the home team in the bottom of the ninth, thus he would only have to earn 24 outs.  However, for that to happen, the home team must be ahead which means at least one pitch (home run) would have to result in a run for the home team, hence, 25 pitches.

--------------
Good Luck
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Minimum pitch count

Spoiler:

OK, I got it wrong and now agree with SidYuca

Randy

RE: Minimum pitch count

One must also consider (see Cajun)use of illegal/ bad bats.
Ump may upon suspect declare batter out if he has a 'bad' bat, i.e. weighted beyond limits or weighted below limits (i.e.  corked) or waxed, goughed etc. But can not play this trick with impunity due to fact that in addition to an out w/o a pitch there is expulsion from game. In view of 25 person roster and rule that a team must field at least 7 this bat deal may be used only 18 times per team per game.  See the Lawyers to determine if mgr can activate from 40 man roster or make other ploys (i.e. switch hitting w/o pitcher on the rubber)?

RE: Minimum pitch count

(OP)
Congratulations to CajunCenturion!  It is, indeed, possible to "pitch" a complete game without throwing a single pitch.  Who wudda thunk it?  I admit I intended the answer to be 25, and was expecting a mixture of 27s, 24s and 25s in the responses.  But everyone here was too sharp to fall for the obvious 27-pitch-perfect-game scenario.

Cajun's answer had me scurrying to the rule book, and I found out a few things I didn't previously know.  The first is the definition of the "normal length" of a game.  Is it always nine innings (8 1/2 if the home team is winning)?  I would have said "yes" without hesitation, but then I found this gem in the rule book:

Quote (Official Baseball Rules):

4.10(a) A regulation game consists of nine innings, unless extended because of a tie score,
or shortened (1) because the home team needs none of its half of the ninth inning or only a fraction of it, or (2) because the umpire-in-chief calls the game.
EXCEPTION: National Association leagues may adopt a rule providing that one or both games of a doubleheader shall be seven innings in length. In such games, any of these rules applying to the ninth inning shall apply to the seventh inning.
If anyone had found this rule that allows the possibility of a seven inning "normal length" game, I would have given credit to the answer 19 for being the losing pitcher in a 6 1/2 inning game, as unlikely as it seems that it could ever happen.

I was also concerned that the wording of my question didn't explicitly rule out games ended by forfeit.  Even allowing forfeited games would not get the required pitch count down to zero, however.  That's because of the scoring rule 10.03(e)(2), which reads in part

Quote (Official Baseball Rules):

If a game is forfeited before it becomes a regulation game, the official scorer shall include no records and shall report only the fact of the forfeit.

So, on to Cajun's answer.  He is right that there are several situations where a runner can be declared out without a pitch being thrown.  I personally was aware of the rules against batting out of order and using a bat that has been tampered with.  I didn't know about the penalty for switching from one batter's box to the other, but it's in the rules too.  So here is one situation that would get a pitcher through an inning without a pitch being thrown.

1. The first scheduled batter, A, doesn't appear and the next batter, B, goes to bat instead.
2. B gets called out for moving from one batters box to the other while the pitcher is in position to throw his first pitch.
3. The fielding team appeals to the umpire that B batted out of turn, and the umpire rules that A is out.
4. C enters the batters box and the umpire notices that he has filed one side of his bat flat.  C is declared out and ejected from the game.  The inning is over.  Pitch count = 0

If this comedy of errors continues for a whole nine inning game, the pitcher will get credit for a complete game victory (and a perfect game!) without throwing a single pitch.  Amazing!

RE: Minimum pitch count

@karluk - what is the significance of "section 3, part 1, subparagraph b"?

--------------
Good Luck
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Minimum pitch count

Cajun,

do you really think karl meant that paragraph numbering literally?
I think it was even coincidence the numbering of rules follows this pattern, maybe not, but didn't karl made up this question to catch "lawyers"?

Bye, Olaf.

RE: Minimum pitch count

==> Do you really think karl meant that paragraph numbering literally?
Did he, or did he not?  Without an answer, we can only speculate and/or assume.  And we know what happens when people make judgments and based on speculation and assumptions.

--------------
Good Luck
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Minimum pitch count

(OP)

Quote:

what is the significance of "section 3, part 1, subparagraph b"?
Olaf is right.  I was trying to caution people not to waste time searching for some rule nobody had ever heard of, and just made up a hypothetical rule.  I was as surprised as anyone that there is there actually is a section 3.01(b) in the rule book.

RE: Minimum pitch count

It was of course merely a joke to quote this rule, once I actually found it at http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2011/Official_Baseball_Rules.pdf

I didn't participate in the puzzle itself, as baseball is not that regular here in germany. I know it's that game with the bat and homeruns, but not much more.

Bye, Olaf.

RE: Minimum pitch count

There is an applicability of that specific rule to this question.  One of the ways a batter can be called out without a pitch is to leave one batter's box and enter the other batter's box.  If the two batter's boxes are not clearly marked, as required by Rule 3.01, then enforcement of this rule becomes problematic.

Although I've never umpired baseball games, I have some high school and college football games, so I'm familiar with rule books and their organization.

Now if you'd like a real trivia question with respect to American football, how can an official game (4 completed quarters of play), end in an official score of 6-1?  No tricks or strange rulings, the actual score based on the normal play of the game.  When I say normal, I mean a situation that could happen through the normal course of play and is covered by the rules.  However, it's a very rare play, and I only know of it happening once.

--------------
Good Luck
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Minimum pitch count

(OP)

Hidden:

I don't want to make the effort to research the rule book in order to see if this is the way it would be scored, but my guess is that 6-1 would arise from a six point touchdown by one team, with the other team blocking the extra point and running it back for a score.  I have a hazy recollection of the rule on this play changing, so maybe that's how it's scored nowadays.

RE: Minimum pitch count

(OP)

Hidden:

Interesting.  So, perhaps the player returning the blocked extra point would have to stop before the goal line and drop kick an extra point going the other way?

RE: Minimum pitch count

In response to CC's football question.

Spoiler:

Team A scores a touchdown - 6 points.
Team B blocks the extra point attempt, recovers the ball, and returns it to the opponents end zone - 1 point.

Randy

RE: Minimum pitch count

(OP)

Hidden:

I just check the NFL rules, and it says that the defensive team can't score during a "try".  But the college, and possibly the high school rules, are different.  The only other scenario I can think of that might possibly score one point for the defense is if it scores a safety during the conversion attempt.  Naturally, that would require extremely unusual circumstances, such as an offensive player retreating almost the entire length of the field into his own end zone and being tackled there.

If that's not right, I'll give up and see if someone else can figure it out.

RE: Minimum pitch count

The NFL also has a one-point "conversion safety" rule, but such a safety can only be scored by the offense. According to former NFL referee Jerry Markbreit:

Under NFL rules, an unsuccessful extra-point is dead if kicked, but while attempting a two-point try, it is possible for a safety to be ruled if the defensive team forces the ball back into their own end zone and they recover. One point would be awarded [to the offense], instead of the two points that are normally awarded for safeties. Although the offense would still kick off, since they just scored a touchdown.[9]

RE: Minimum pitch count

@SidYuca

Hidden:

Jerry Markbreight's descriptions shows how the offense can score one point on a try, but that doesn't preclude the defense from also scoring a one point safety.

--------------
Good Luck
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Minimum pitch count

@karluk

Hidden:

Yes, that is correct, but it's more likely that the defense advances that ball down the field and then fumbles and offense recovers in the field of play, then retreats into its own end zone where downed.  Since it's on a try, it's a one-point safety for the defense.

--------------
Good Luck
FAQ181-2886: How can I maximize my chances of getting an answer?
Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.  - Plato

RE: Minimum pitch count

From an umpire's perspective, the most important baseball rule, is 9.01(c).

Here's a faux baseball question.

Baseball park next to a farm.

Batter hits ball to fence, where there is a gully directly under the fence.

Ball rolls into the gully directly under the fence.

As the fielder reaches into the gully to field the ball, a pig on the outside of the fence, grabs the ball in the gully and runs off.

You make the call.

Spoiler:

Inside the pork home run!

Skip,

Just traded in my old subtlety...
for a NUANCE!

RE: Minimum pitch count

(OP)
Yep, 9.01(c) is definitely the umpire's best friend.

Quote (Official Baseball Rules):

Each umpire has authority to rule on any point not specifically covered in these rules.

RE: Minimum pitch count

A local men's BB team in Dallas is playing a tournament with a traveling team from out-of-country.

Visitors at bat, one out, runners at first & second.

Pop fly to second baseman.  Umpires yell, "Infield fly if fair!" Second baseman attempts a catch and drops the ball.  Batter is called OUT. Visitors complain in their native tongue. The call stands.

Several innings later, the visitors in the field, no outs, runners at first and second.

Pop fly to first basemen. Umpires yell, "Infield fly if fair!"  First baseman smugly decides to let the ball drop, and it falls to the ground and rolls foul between home and first. Batter is awarded a foul ball strike. Visitors again complain and a sympathetic home-town fan throws a full can of Coors at the umpire, who, with his partner, beat a hasty escape to their vehicles.

Skip,

Just traded in my old subtlety...
for a NUANCE!

RE: Minimum pitch count

The infield fly rule is in place specifically to prevent fielders from intentionally dropping the ball to get a chance at a double play. If it were not there, the fans would've been doubly mad (pun intended)

**********************************************
What's most important is that you realise ...  There is no spoon.

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