When can a relief pitcher enter a baseball game? (Specifically, in reference to the first inning of today's Phillies-Mets game.) Also, why are there more unassisted triple plays than before?
Phillies-Mets game today. Top of the first, two outs, Phillies up 6-0. Pedro Martinez is batting, Oliver Perez pitching. Three balls, no strikes to Martinez... and Perez gets pulled for a new pitcher. Right in the middle of the at-bat. Martinez strikes out to end the inning.
So what happened? I was under the impression that pitchers can't be pulled in the middle of the at-bat except for an injury, which is not what happened as far as I can tell. Rule 3.03
states that substitutions can be made whenever the ball is dead but the definition of the ball being "dead" seems to be scattered in bits and pieces throughout the rules.
Also: the game ended with an unassisted triple play. As a Phillies fan, I knew that Mickey Morandini had one in '92; the list at mlb.com
indicates it was the ninth all-time, and there have been seven since then, including one each in '07, '08, and '09. Why are there more now than there used to be? (I don't think the presence of more teams now quite explains it.)