The Chicago Cubs didn’t have a lot of scoring opportunities in Friday’s loss to the Cleveland Indians, but one of those chances caused some controversy in the bottom of the seventh inning at Wrigley Field.
On the play, Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler sliced a ball down the right field line, which appeared to be going foul. Thanks to a strong wind that was blowing out of the south, the ball blew back into play, and Indians right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall was unable to come up with the play, and the ball rolled all the way down the right field line.
Soler, thinking the ball was going to be foul, got a slow break out of the batter’s box, but by the time he realized the ball was going to be fair, he started sprinting and ended up on third base on the play.
While some fans and media members criticized Soler for not hustling out of the batter’s box, arguing that he could have scored on an inside-the-park home run, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was not one of those critics.
“I was kind of surprised by it,” Maddon said. “At best he was going to get to third base anyway.”
The Cubs ended up losing the game by a run, but Maddon insists that Soler didn’t do anything that another player wouldn’t have done in the same situation.
“What happens sometimes, you’ll see a guy hit a ball and their head is down they don’t even know where it is,” he said. “When he saw it, from our perspective, it was in the stands and it kind of blew back. I’m not making excuses for him but the best he could do was get to third base, anyway.”
Soler was replaced by Jason Heyward after the triple, and he is not in the starting lineup for Saturday’s Game 4, as Heyward will start in right field for the Cubs.