The Chicago Cubs scraped out a 3-2 win over San Diego Monday, but it was a collision at home plate that had the Padres fuming.
With the Cubs trailing 2-1 in the sixth, Rizzo led off with a triple. One out later, Kris Bryant hit a liner to shallow center that Matt Szczur made a running catch on and fired home to get Rizzo for the inning-ending double play
Padres catcher Austin Hedges got the ball early and moved to apply the tag, but Rizzo didn’t slide, instead dropping to his knee and crashing into the catcher, who tumbled backward and left the game with a bruised thigh. [[414417003, C]]
Padres manager Andy Green was none too pleased after what he saw as a violation of the league’s rule prohibiting runners from deviating from their path in order to make contact with the catcher – a guideline adopted in 2014 to prevent "the most egregious" collisions at home plate.
"I think you look at that play and it's a fairly egregious violation of the rule," Green said. "The rule exists to protect the catcher. The safety of the catcher is more in jeopardy now when you have the rule to protect you because you're not expecting to get hit when you give a guy a plate like that."
"That's a cheap shot," he continued. "I'm not saying he's a dirty player at all — nobody is saying that — but he clearly deviated from his path to hit our catcher, took our catcher out. Rule exists to protect him. It's a disheartening play to see come about like that."
The Cubs certainly didn’t see it that way.
"It's one of those plays where I know it's very sensitive," Rizzo said. "By all means, I hope the catcher’s alright, but it's a play where I'm out by two steps. If I slide, he runs into me." [[429689223, C]]
"I by no means think that’s a dirty play at all,” Rizzo added. "I’ve talked to a lot of umpires about this rule. And my understanding is: If they have the ball, it’s game on."
Chicago manager Joe Maddon agreed.
"You don't see it anymore because the runner thinks he has to avoid (the catcher) — he doesn't," Maddon said. "If the guy's in the way, you're still able to hit him. I think we’ve just retrained the mind so much right there that they look to miss him."
"I'd much prefer what Riz did tonight. What he did was right, absolutely right. There's nothing wrong with that and nobody can tell me differently," he said. "It’s a good play. The catcher’s in the way, you don’t try to avoid him in an effort to score and hurt yourself. You hit him, just like Riz did."
Still, San Diego fans were not pleased, with a verified Twitter account for the Padres Radio Network calling for retaliation. [[429688163, C]]
"Well #Padres fans, should the #Padres retaliate in this series for the slide by Rizzo? RT if you think yes, absolutely they should," @PadresRadio tweeted late Monday.
The Cubs and Padres face off once again at Wrigley Field Tuesday night.