We’ve seen the new “Chase Utley rule” used a number of times this Major League Baseball season. You know – the rule that says you can’t slide in hard or late or off-line to try and break up a double play at second base. The Blue Jays have been victimized by the rule a couple times, now, including in one game of their season-opening series against the Tampa Bay Rays that ended up deciding the game.
It was only after Chase Utley broke Ruben Tejada‘s leg with a hard slide last year in the NLDS that it became a rule. Before that, sliding in hard to break up the double play was pretty standard practice in baseball. But the scene last October was a pretty ugly…
As you probably remember, the Mets went on to win the series and make it all the way to the World Series… But they did not forget that play. It’s something that has been talked about countless times since then, and I guess last night, Mets starter Noah Syndergaard decided it was time they made it known that they weren’t pleased… As if there was ever a question about that. The thing is – there have already been chances to get even, with the teams playing a series already that lacked any such fireworks. Utley also got through Friday’s season opener with neither Jacob DeGrom or any of the Mets relievers throwing at him… But with Syndergaard on the mound, it wasn’t a huge surprise. Don’t forget that Syndergaard threw up and in on Alcides Escobar for the very first pitch of Game 3 in the World Series.
Here’s Utley at bat in the 3rd inning.
As you can see, Syndergaard is a little surprised that he got ejected. Of course, any pitcher is just going to tell you that one got away from him – but these guys are good, and can consistently place their pitches exactly where they want them. That’s why they’re in the big leagues. On top of that, it was a 99 mph fastball. If a breaking ball gets away from you and strikes the batter on the leg or something, that makes sense. But a heater thrown a foot behind him? That’s pretty suspect. Maybe he meant it got away from him in that it didn’t actually hit Utley.
At any rate, the umpire decided it was intentional, and exercised his right to toss Syndergaard from the game, despite the fact that no warnings had been issued. And not surprisingly, Mets skipper Terry Collins had something to say about that… to the point where HE got kicked from the game too!
Here’s what the umpiring crew had to say about it after the fact:
Here’s crew chief Tom Hallion with a pool reporter: pic.twitter.com/58odJmA8ma
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) May 29, 2016
Utley ended up having the last laugh – or laughs – though, with a successful day at the plate. After Syndergaard was tossed while he was at bat (success #1), he went on to sock TWO dingers, one of which was a Grand Slam!
He was pretty subdued when he got back to the dugout, and that carried over into his post-game interview, during which he was nothing but professional about it.
And why wouldn’t he be? He knocked in 5 RBI’s and helped his team win 9-1.
OH – and this isn’t the only “scandal” between the Mets and Dodgers going on right now. Apparently the Dodgers are using laser guides to direct their outfielders to proper positions, and the Mets aren’t having any of that. Check out this article for more there.
Since I don’t really have a horse in the race here, I’m happy to watch as a bystander and see what else happens between the Mets and Utley – but Utley sure seems to be good at getting under their skin!