Is it possible to appeal a tag-up play at a base after a pitching change? If so, how does it affect the pitchers' statistics?

For a concrete example, suppose P1 is pitching, runner R3 at third, one out. Batter B hits a fly ball which is caught by the left fielder (two out). Runner R3 advances to home. Now pitcher P1 is removed and replaced with P2. After the pitching change, but before P2 pitches to the next batter, the defense realizes that R3 left third before the fly ball was caught. P2 throws to third to appeal.

  • Will R3 be called out, or is it too late to appeal?

  • If R3 is out, who is credited with the corresponding 1/3 inning pitched? P1 or P2?

  • Suppose this is the last out of the game in a save situation. Who gets the save?

Assume current MLB rules. References to authoritative sources would be preferred if possible. I couldn't find this situation addressed in the Official Rules.

1 Answer 1


I do not believe this is explicitly discussed anywhere. However, I think the rules are sufficiently clear:

MLB Rules, 5.09(c):

Any appeal under this rule must be made before the next pitch, or any play or attempted play. If the violation occurs during a play which ends a half-inning, the appeal must be made before the defensive team leaves the field

I would argue that suggests that the appeal play is permitted after the substitution assuming no pitch or play had occurred in the intervening time period. (And I think warmup tosses are permitted.)

I do think this would be, at least, frowned upon by the umpires, though, as there's no reason to do this (I guess, the team might have been tipped off in the intervening time that the runner left early and they didn't realize it earlier as you say, but really they should just appeal if there's any possibility - no cost to an appeal, as opposed to a review).

  • But if they were tipped off, this is a rule infraction, I believe? Something about assisting or communicating with players during an innings if they're already on the field?
    – Nij
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 6:26
  • 1
    @Nij No, managers communicate with players on the field all the time.
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 10:50
  • Assuming the appeal is allowed, what is the status of P2? Is the fact that he threw the ball enough to establish an appearance, or is he "ghost-throwing" the ball to 3rd on behalf of P1?
    – chepner
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 17:27
  • He would be officially in the game, if that's what you mean (he would have to pitch to the next batter, I believe). If it were the third out, I'm not sure if he'd be allowed to be changed out between innings.
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 17:29
  • I realize I don't really answer the rest of the questions, and that's because I don't entirely know. But one interesting detail: technically when you double off someone for not tagging, it is an appeal play, even in the normal sequence of events (i.e., catch the ball in the outfield, then toss to 1st base to double up the player - that is an appeal play). So that may give weight to P2 being the pitcher of record for those outs.
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 17:31

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