The Chicago Cubs defeated the San Diego Padres 3-2 at home on Monday night, but that's not the only reason the Padres are upset.
Manager Andy Green and other San Diego coaches and players are furious with Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo for a play that occurred in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With the Cubs trailing 2-1, a shallow fly ball was caught by the Padres' center fielder for the first out of the inning. Rizzo tagged up from third base and sprinted home after the catch was made.
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However, as you can see in the video below, the throw beats Rizzo to home plate by a few steps. Catcher Austin Hedges grabs the ball and positions himself to make a tag, but Rizzo plows into him at full-speed:
Hedges held onto the ball even as the collision with Rizzo sent him flying backwards. Even with the double play, though, the Padres were furious, as Rizzo's play could have injured Hedges.
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Green told ESPN.com that Rizzo's "cheap shot" was exactly what recent rule changes have been designed to prevent:
"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. 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.''
Hedges left the game with a bruised thigh after the play, but seems to think he'll be fine to play moving forward.
However, Rizzo felt differently about the play, saying he's spoken to several umpires and was led to believe he's able to do what he did on Monday night:
"It's one of those plays where it's very sensitive,'' Rizzo said. "It's a play where I'm out by two steps. If I slide, he runs into me.
"I've talked to a lot of umpires about this rule. It's my understanding if they have the ball, it's game on.''
If indeed Rizzo is right and that he can plow into the catcher on plays like that, it's safe to say the people in charge of the MLB's rulebook will take a long look at changing the wording involved in collisions at the plate this offseason.
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