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Batting Twice in a row – Fact or Myth?

In baseball, the specific scenario where a batter is “at bat again at the next inning” typically relates to an inning ending while that batter is at the plate.

This can happen under a few circumstances.

Situation 1 – Inning ends with a play on the bases not involving the batter

This is the most common situation when the third out of an inning is made by another runner while the batter is still at bat.

In this case, the rules stipulate that this batter will be the first to bat in the next inning, regardless of the count.

Therefore, the batter who was at bat when the final out of the inning was made will lead off the next inning, starting with a fresh count (0 balls and 0 strikes).

The specific MLB rule that covers this situation is found in the Official Baseball Rules under:

  • Rule 5.04(b)(2): This rule states that the next batter due up is the player whose at-bat was interrupted by the end of the inning due to the third out being made by a runner. When the next inning begins, that batter is the first to bat and starts a new at-bat with a fresh count (0-0).

Situation 2 – Batting out of order

When a batter hits out of the lineup and this mistake is noticed and appealed by the opposing team, the same batter could appear to bat consecutively if they are next in line according to the correct order.

For illustration, consider a lineup of Andy, Brian, Charlie, Dave, Ed, Frank, Greg, Howard, Ivan. Following Ivan’s turn, it is Andy’s turn to bat. However, Brian goes to bat instead. Once Brian finishes batting, if the opposing team points out the batting out of order violation, an out is declared, reversing any play outcomes such as base advancements or scored runs, and removing any base runners attributed to the violation.

Consequently, Brian is up to bat as per the lineup.

Although it seems Brian bats twice in succession, by the rules, Andy is deemed the outed batter, indicating Brian is not technically batting back-to-back.

Side Tidbit – Extra Innings Runner Rule

Please note that in Major League Baseball (MLB) and many youth baseball leagues, starting from the 10th inning and onwards, the player who made the last out in the previous inning will automatically begin the new inning on second base. This player does not receive credit for an at-bat during this process since they do not actively bat but are instead placed on second base automatically.

This MLB rule is commonly referred to as the “Extra Innings Runner Rule” or the “Runner on Second Base Rule.”

Officially, it was introduced as a part of the pace of play and strategy adjustments to make extra innings games more dynamic and to potentially shorten the length of games. This rule was first implemented temporarily for the 2020 MLB season to expedite the conclusion of games that extended into extra innings, and its use has been evaluated for continuation in subsequent seasons.

As stated before, the rule places a runner on second base at the start of each half-inning in extra innings, aiming to increase the chances of scoring and thus bringing the game to a quicker conclusion.

The MLB rules pertaining to batting out of order are outlined in Rule 6.03(b) of the Official Baseball Rules which details the procedure and consequences when a team bats out of turn.

It specifies how the mistake can be corrected, the point at which a violation can be appealed by the defensive team, and the penalties imposed for batting out of order.

Final Thoughts

The rule is designed to maintain the batting order’s integrity and ensure that no batter loses their turn due to the inning ending from a play that doesn’t involve them directly (like a runner getting caught stealing for the third out).