This is a story about an oft-forlorn franchise that started the season 14-5 but has since dropped 11 of its last 15 games. Said team did something Wednesday that just about sums up such a skid and pretty much its entire existence. Go on, give it a guess.
Playing an early-afternoon game in Cincinnati, the New York Mets seemed to have something going in the first inning when Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-out ground-rule double. There was just one problem: On the lineup card given by the team to the umpires, Cabrera was listed as batting second, not third. Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman pointed this out to the umpiring crew after Cabrera reached base, and they ended the inning by ruling that there had been three outs.
Further confusing things was the fact that nearly everyone else in the stadium — the media, scoreboard operators, etc. — was given a lineup that had Wilmer Flores batting second and Cabrera hitting third, just as things played out on the field (the umpires’ lineup card had it the other way around). Here, look at this video from the team’s Twitter account that was posted midmorning Wednesday:
Confusing things even more — stick with me here — is the fact that bona fide No. 4 hitter Jay Bruce did not lead off the second inning. You see, even though Flores and Cabrera had batted out of order, baseball rules say that Cabrera’s plate appearance was officially considered a no-at-bat and that Bruce was to be the batter considered out (scored as a putout to the catcher). So Bruce was called out without actually, you know, getting a chance to hit.
Adrian Gonzalez, the Mets’ No. 5 hitter, led off the top of the second inning.
There were jokes, obviously:
Twitter darling Keith Hernandez also weighed in, getting right to the point:
Teams bat out of turn with alarming regularity. The Milwaukee Brewers were the last team to do it, against the Washington Nationals in 2016. And, while not actually a case of a batter hitting out of turn, Chris Young of the Boston Red Sox hit after he officially had been taken out of the lineup during a blowout loss to the Baltimore Orioles just last year.
Incidentally, the Mets lost to the Reds on Wednesday, 2-1. That made it 12 losses in 16 games.