Chase Utley, who broke Ruben Tejada‘s right fibula when he barreled into him at second base in the seventh inning on Saturday night, reached out to Tejada through David Wright, Ken Rosenthal reports (Oct. 11).
In texts that were exchanged with Rosenthal, Utley said he wasn’t trying to hurt Tejada.
“In no way shape or form was I trying to hurt Ruben,” Utley texted to Rosenthal. “I slid in hard like I have for 12 years. I feel terrible about the outcome. I’ve reached out to Ruben via David Wright.”
Utley was initially ruled out on the game-tying play (for what would’ve been the second out of the inning), but was awarded second base after a replay review even though he made no attempt to ever tag the base. With two outs, the Dodgers scored three runs to take a 5-2 lead en route to their Game 2 NLDS win.
That’s the problem, Chase. That’s what you don’t understand. It’s not that you did or didn’t intentionally break Tejada’s leg. It’s that it never occurred to you that it could happen from tackling someone like that. It’s this inconsideration for the rule and a fellow player’s safety that has everyone angry at you. It’s selfish, stupid and against the rules. And the fact that you’ve been sliding like that for years doesn’t make it any better — it just proves you’ve been selfish and stupid and breaking the rule since you came in to the league. Again, the umpire should have called him and the runner heading to first out, on grounds of obstruction and making no effort to touch the bag.
Maggie Wiggin, Contributor
As thrilling as Friday’s win was, Saturday night’s loss was brutal. The now-infamous play at second involved no fewer than three highly questionable judgement calls and at the end of the day, a visibly intentional tackle will go unaddressed. I don’t want to plunk Chase Utley. If the first 50 times he’s been hit for this kind of thing didn’t teach him to respect the safety of his fellow players, number 51 sure won’t. And an extra baserunner in a playoff game is trouble waiting to happen. No, the only revenge is to win, preferably making Utley look feeble and ineffective in the process.
One of the worst parts of that pivotal and devastating play was that it overshadowed a really solid six innings of play in a very challenging context. The Mets got to Zack Greinke early, and though he settled down, the Mets proved that he was mortal and lined their team up for a well-earned victory over a leading Cy Young candidate. I found myself even relaxing after that lead was established, able to just enjoy watching, confident that they had what it took to come out on top.
Noah Syndergaard proved he was up to the challenge of that matchup with six solid innings. He worked out of some jams and didn’t display anything like deGrom’s utter domination of the previous night, but he showed an incredible arsenal of 100 mph-plus heat (with wicked movement, no less) and an impressive, if still developing, “Warthen slider”. Games such as this make it easy to see why some say he has the most potential of anyone on the staff.
Despite the strong performance, though, I had serious misgivings about Syndergaard going out for the seventh. Less concerned about protection, I had my eye toward the fact that pitchers inevitably decline in effectiveness after 100 pitches, and few outings have ever featured the level of heat brought by Syndergaard (nine strikeouts, three runs, five hits, four walks, 115 pitches in 6 1/3 innings). Combined with the knowledge that relievers perform better when they start an inning, the choice seemed clear. But he went out there, and trouble followed — more than I could have imagined.
The Mets are in a make-or-break situation now, coming into their home field with something to prove. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to be there cheering them on and I’ll relish every minute of it, but it’s hard not to feel a layer of doom after a night like Saturday’s.
In Game 2 of the NLDS, Chase Utley slid hard into second base to break up a double play. In doing so, he broke Ruben Tejada’s leg. Here, current and former MLB players — including those in the Mets organization — share their thoughts on the play.
The Mets lose to the Dodgers, 5-2, on Saturday night as the series comes back to New York tied at one game apiece >> Read more
Ruben Tejada suffered a broken leg after Chase Utley slid hard into second base >> Read more
Mets players took issue with Utley’s slide, with some suggesting it was more of a “tackle” >> Read more
What’s on Tap for Sunday, Oct. 11
The Mets will hold a workout at Citi Field on Sunday afternoon.
Terry Collins and Matt Harvey, the Game 3 starter, are expected to speak to the media around 4 p.m. ET.
New York and Los Angeles play again on Monday night, with Harvey facing off against Brett Anderson.
Sandy Alderson: “We’re not commenting on the play.”
Terry Collins: “Well, it broke my shortstop’s leg.”
David Wright: “Only Chase [Utley] knows what his intent was. There is the way to play the game hard. I have a problem with the play on a number of different levels. One being the slide itself, in my opinion, he wasn’t even close to the bag. With that being said, he never touched the bag and I think the neighborhood play is there to try and protect players trying to turn double plays from getting hurt. I have a lot of questions and I am not sure if they have been answered or not. I am not trying to call out the officials or the officiating. I’m just confused as to that play on a number of different levels. It was a big play. They put some good at bats together. It definitely seemed like after that play we lost the momentum. They came up with some big hits. I have a lot of questions. It’s not sour grapes or calling out the umpires, I’m just confused as to a number of different reasons why he was called safe there. Hopefully, if they haven’t been answered we will get some answers.”
“My understanding is that it isn’t considered the neighborhood play because it wasn’t considered, I guess, a good throw to Ruben [Tejada]? Other than that, I don’t know. I don’t understand. My understanding is that when you slide, you have to try and slide somewhat into the bag and I still don’t think he ever touched the bag until the call was reversed. Once the player is called out, you don’t go to tag him, especially when you are laying there with a broken leg, you don’t go to tag him when he is laying on the ground 10 feet from the base. You just assume he is out. I have a number of questions and just don’t understand the whole sequence of events.”
Michael Cuddyer: “That’s not a slide. That’s a tackle. … That’s for you to decide if tackling is legal in baseball.”
Daniel Murphy: “To call it a slide will be generous.”
Kelly Johnson: “The issue is, he hit our shortstop first, before hitting the dirt. At what point is that illegal? At what point do we say, ‘Hey, we missed something here?’ We have rules at home plate to protect our guys, what’s the difference. Ruben stuck his next out there and before he could get the ball out of his glove he’s getting tackled. I don’t get it. It’s sad. There’s got to be something in there that says you have to hit dirt, you’ve got to slide, not jump in to him and knock players out of the game.”
The Mets and Dodgers react to Chase Utley’s questionable slide that broke Ruben Tejada’s leg and Los Angeles’ win in Game 2 of the NLDS.
Terry Collins reacts to controversial play involving Ruben Tejada and Chase Utley and the Mets’ loss in Game 2 of the NLDS.
Longtime Mets nemesis Chase Utley was at the heart of a four-run rally in the seventh as the Dodgers defeated the Mets 5-2 Saturday in Los Angeles to send the National League Division Series back to New York tied at 1.
The game turned on Utley’s hard slide into second that fractured Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada’s right fibula as the tying run scored.
Utley reached on a one-out pinch-hit single after Kike Hernandez walked. Utley was the last batter faced by Mets starter Noah Syndergaard.
Daniel Murphy fielded Howie Kendrick’s grounder up the middle and flipped to Tejada, who was running to cover second. The throw was behind Tejada, so he had to flip around to catch it before turning to attempt a throw to first base.
Utley was ruled out, but the call was overturned on appeal as umpires said Tejada did not touch the bag. The Mets did not appeal that Utley never touched the bag as TV analyst and former Met Ron Darling suggested. Meanwhile, Hernandez scored the tying run.
One batters later, Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run, two-out double on an 0-and-2 pitch off Addison Reed, and Justin Turner followed with an RBI double.
The Dodgers rally spoiled a strong outing by Syndergaard, who struck out nine and allowed three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. Bartolo Colon replaced Syndergaard after Utley’s single and left after Kendrick’s eventful grounder.
Dodgers starter Zack Greinke struck out eight in seven innings, allowing solo home runs to Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto in the second inning among five hits given up.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen allowed a walk in the ninth but closed the door for the save.
I understand that no one game comes down to one play, that it’s always series of missed opportunities that create a loss. That said, Utley is a punk, always has been, he plays dirty and he should have been called out for deliberately trying to take out Tejada and obstruct the play, with ZERO attempt at touching second base. I don’t care about reviews, who touched the bag and who didn’t. The slide should have resulted in the out, which would also mean the runner at first base is out and that inning is totally different. Instead, Utley is safe, Tejada has a broken leg, the flood gates opened and the series is tied at 1-1. Yes, the Mets had nothing going on offense. Yes, the bullpen was a mess. I get it. But, Utley’s blatant disregard for Tejada and the rule is why the game got out of control.
That said, I need to exhale and remember the Mets did what they needed to do, which was win one game in Los Angeles with a chance to win it in New York, which is exactly what they did. I’m glad Matt Harvey is on the mound in Game 3.
Playoff baseball finally comes to Citi Field when the Dodgers visit the Mets for Game 3 Monday (8:37 p.m., TBS). Matt Harvey (13-8, 2.71) faces Brett Anderson (10-9, 3.69).