Sunday, October 11, 2015

Chase Utley's slide into Ruben Tejada wrecks Game 2 of NLDS

Series tied 1-1

It was the slide seen round the world. 

With Mets holding on to a rail thin 2-1 lead against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Division Series, the Dodgers had runners on first and third with no one out. Howie Kendrick took a pitch from Bartolo Colon, and lined it up the middle to Daniel Murphy who was covering behind the bag. Murphy tried to flip the ball to Ruben Tejada covering at second to get Chase Utley out,in hopes of starting a double play and here is where all hell broke loose

Clearly Tejada never touched the bag, and if he did it was very quick. The initial ruling was that Tejada touched the bag and Utley was out. However, Don Mattingly challenged it, and got the call reversed. based on the fact that Tejada never got his foot on the bag, and the idea that the "neighborhood play" i.e. beginning of a double-play, was not in effect since Tejada had his back toward Utley. 

Regardless the call is horrific. What should have been called was interference on Utley, who obviously never comes close to the bag himself. Instead he has launched his body as a heat seeking missile at Tejada's legs to stop the double-play. The slide is illegal and should have been called. It was not. Because of the ridiculous replay rules, this play could not be reviewed, to our knowledge as we write this on Cohen's Corner Sports, based on interference. 

What makes this play even worse is the fact that Tejada broke his fibula on the play and will be lost for the entire postseason. On top of that, after the play was reversed in favor of the runner (Utley), he was awarded second base, and the Dodgers proceeded to score three more runs in the game, stealing Game 2 from the Mets 5-2. The Mets didn't appeal because they couldn't appeal as the officials already ruled that Utley was safe at second, even though he is clearly out. Regardless this has led to nothing but anger and confusion. 

Even Joe Torre, who is currently the Chief of Baseball Operations had a hard time explaining what had happened, but admitted that Utley was "late" on the slide. 

Just check out Twitter: 

whatever the rules are, something's not right when a player is rewarded with the bag when he wasnt even trying for the bag.
Horrible call, Utley never touch the bag. If called safe Tejada can tag him.
So Utley is safe even though he ran off the field and never touched the bag?? This is a mess.
Here is Kelly Johnson's reaction:

This is not the end of this by any stretch of the imagination. While the Mets lost the game, and there are many reasons for it, i.e. from mismanagement of the bullpen, to the simple fact that the Mets couldn't get anything done against Zach Grienke except for a couple of home runs, the bottom of the 7th inning will be the Mets rallying cry. 

New York will feature Matt Harvey on the hill in Game 3, and expect the Mets to ride this wave of emotion into Game 3. However, the Mets still let this one get away from them. They were nine outs away from a 2-0 series edge with their ace on the hill in a potential clincher. This is a tough one to swallow, especially knowing that in Game 4, New York will likely have to see Clayton Kershaw again. 

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