Bruce Bochy: Joe Maddon doesn’t know what he’s talking about regarding catcher collisions

46 Comments

Joe Maddon is not a fan of any of the rules aimed at protecting fielders from aggressive slides from baserunners. He doesn’t like the rule about breakup slides at second base — he’s reacted angrily when his own baserunners have been involved in controversies surrounding the application of that rule — and he doesn’t like the rule aimed at stopping collisions at home.

Yesterday Joe Maddon took to the airwaves on Chicago’s 670 The Score to defend Anthony Rizzo’s slide into Austin Hedges on Monday night. In the course of his interview, he took new aim at the catcher collision rule, chalking it all up to Buster Posey‘s season ending injury in 2011:

“I’m really confused by why it gained so much attention only except for the fact that Buster Posey got hurt a couple years ago. Other than that, if it was a third-string catcher for the Atlanta Braves that got hurt three years ago, this (rule) wouldn’t even be in existence . . . it’s all precipitated by one play that happened several years ago that to me was just bad technique on the part of the catcher, so that’s where I get really flustered by this conversation, because to me it should not even exist.”

Someone told Giants Bruce Bochy about Maddon’s comments. He didn’t refer to Maddon by name, but his response was pretty pointed for the usually friendly world of manager-on-manager discourse. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

“I don’t really care to visit it. I don’t. Anybody who goes into that, they don’t know what they’re talking about where Buster was at on that play . . . I wish the guys who make these comments were standing there when Todd Greene got hurt and say the same thing.”

Greene was the Giants catcher in the mid-2000s whose career was cut short by a shoulder injury after Prince Fielder plowed into him at home.

Maddon is not entirely wrong with his reference to Posey. The catcher collision rule did not go into effect until three years after Posey’s injury, so it certainly wasn’t some kneejerk reaction to him breaking his leg, but it is fair to say that Posey’s injury significantly moved the ball forward with respect to protecting catchers. Indeed, the conversation about all of that was almost nonexistent before Posey’s injury. Todd Greene did not get people talking about it, that’s for sure. Posey’s injury did.

Beyond that narrow point, however, Maddon is full of crap here. For one thing, Posey did not break his leg because of “bad technique.” He broke it because Scott Cousins intentionally slammed into him while trying to score. A legal play at the time but one which was going to lead inevitably to serious injury. It was a bad setup all around which the collision rule was designed to eradicate. Has it done it perfectly? No, it’s a hard rule to implement, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Beyond that, laying all of this at Buster Posey’s feet, or the feet of a league that allegedly overreacted due to the injury of a superstar, is dumb. Whatever the impetus for the rule — and if it wasn’t Posey, it certainly would’ve been someone else given the radical shift in opinion about concussions and sports injuries in general — it’s a smart rule. Baseball is not a contact sport and a catcher-runner collision is not some necessary part of the game, even if it had become a customary one.

Joe Maddon is a pretty smart guy who gets a lot of kudos for being an open-minded innovator. But this old school streak of his regarding collisions is wrongheaded.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

Getty Images
12 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 12, Mets 0; Mariners 5, Tigers 4: It was a huge night for the Seager brothers: Corey hit three homers for the Dodgers, driving in six. Kyle hit a walkoff double to give the M’s the win over the Tigers. My brother and I have never had a night quite that eventful, but one time in 1992 my brother, while home on leave from the Navy, skateboarded down the road in front of our house naked on the very same night I got violently ill after drinking too much Jack Daniel’s (I was 19, so “too much” was “any”) and woke up on the bathroom floor. That’s basically the same thing, right?

Giants 6, Braves 3: Atlanta had a 2-0 lead heading into the eighth, but Julio Teheran ran out of gas, giving up a three-run homer to Austin Slater. Ian Kroll came in after him and gave up two more runs — one charged to him, one to Teheran — and there was no coming back from that. Regarding that homer from Austin Slater: not bad for someone who is obviously a fictional character from a straight-to-VHS 90s action movie. Indeed, I don’t think there is any more of a 1990s name than Austin Slater. That’s the name equivalent of JNCO jeans crossed with a 1-800-COLLECT commercial.

Orioles 6, Indians 5: The Orioles can’t pitch, but when your third baseman goes 4-for-4, hits two homers and drives in four, you have a fighting chance. He also scored the winning run following a double in the seventh. Can Manny Machado pitch?

Angels 8, Yankees 3: You’ll be shocked to learn that Tyler Clippard came into a tie game and coughed up the lead. Shocked, I say!  Here it was Cameron Maybin hitting a solo homer off of him in the seventh. Clippard then gave up a double and an RBI triple. The guy who hit the triple — Yunel Escobar — would then score after Clippard got the hook. The Yankees have lost seven in a row and have fallen out of first place thanks to this loss and . . .

Red Sox 8, Royals 3: . . . this win. Chris Sale pitched eight and a third, striking out ten. Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon each drove in a pair, and recent callups Sam Travis and third baseman Deven Marrero drove in a run each.

Cardinals 8, Phillies 1: You don’t often see teams win extra innings game by seven runs, but the Cards did it. A pitcher’s duel between Mike Leake and Jeremy Hellickson had it at 1-1 at the end of regulation, but the Phillies bullpen — specifically, Edubray Ramos and Casey Fein — hemorrhaged runs in the 11th inning. Stephen Piscotty doubled in two and then Yadier Molina and Tommy Pham piled on with two-run homers.  Matt Carpenter‘s RBI double ended the carnage. Philly has lost 12 of its last 13 games.

Nationals 12, Marlins 3:  Stephen Drew had three hits and three RBI and Ryan Zimmerman drove in three runs with a double and a single as the Nats romped. In other news, Nats starter Gio Gonzalez had a friend sitting behind the dugout who got hit in the head with a bat, but go on and tell me that netting is a “creature of the nanny state,” my dude.

Rays 6, Reds 5: The Rays had a 6-2 lead at one point, but the Reds made it close with three-runs late thanks in large part to sloppy outfield play by the Rays. That sloppy play was by Corey Dickerson, covering center for the injured Kevin Kiermaier, so yeah. Dickerson had some karma to burn, though, as he singled in a run and homered earlier in the contest.

Pirates 7, Brewers 3: Pittsburgh jumped all over Zach Davies in the first inning with David Freese hitting a one-run single, Andrew McCutchen hitting a two-run single and Jose Ozuna hitting a three-run homer. Davis would say on to wear this one — seven runs on ten hits over five innings — but he was a dead man walking after that first inning. McCutchen would later add a homer, giving both him and Ozuna three RBI on the night.

Rangers 6, Blue Jays 1Pittsburgh Texas jumped all over Zach Davies Francisco Liriano in the first inning, with David Freese hitting a one-run single, Andrew McCutchen hitting a two-run single and Jose Ozuna hitting a three-run homer Adrian Beltre grounding in a run, Carlos Gomez hitting a solo homer and Jonathan Lucroy and Mike Napoli doubling in and singling in runs, respectively. Beltre And Nomar Mazara would later hit solo shots as Nick Martinez allowed only one run in six and a third.

Cubs 4, Padres 0: Anthony Rizzo was not hit by a pitch in retaliation for that controversial slide during his first at bat last night. I’m glad he wasn’t — plunking dudes is bad form — but the Padres may have been better off if they had hit him. Because as it was he led off the game with a homer, and that homer would prove to be the only run the Cubs would need. Rizzo now has three leadoff homers, which ties him for the NL lead. He has batted leadoff for only seven games. He is 6-for-6 with a walk to open the first inning. Starter Mike Montgomery allowed three hits and two walks in six innings, striking out four.

Twins 9, White Sox 7: Kennys Vargas and Miguel Sano each hit long homers — Vargas’ was ridiculous — as both teams beat the hell out of ineffective opposing starting pitchers in Ervin Santana and Derek Holland.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 3: Nolan Arenado hit a two-run triple off Zack Greinke in the eighth inning to help the Rockies rally past Arizona. Carlos Gonzalez homered and saved a run with a diving catch to help Colorado win its sixth straight. Something special is happening with this club.

Astros 8, Athletics 4: Anthony Rizzo may have a nice number of leadoff homers, but he’s got nothin’ on George Springer, who hit his eighth leadoff blast of the season in this one. That helped kick off a five run first. The A’s chipped away at that lead one run at a time, but Carlos Correa‘s two-run single in the eighth and Carlos Beltran‘s homer in the ninth put it away definitively.

Hunter Strickland’s six-game suspension upheld

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
8 Comments

It took a while, but Major League Baseball has finally resolved Giants reliever Hunter Strickland‘s appeal of his six-game suspension: it’s still six games. MLB decided not to reduce Strickland’s punishment, which he’ll begin serving tonight, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic reports.

On May 29, Strickland intentionally hit Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper in the hip with a 98 MPH fastball, exacting revenge for playoff home runs Harper hit against Strickland in 2014. Harper wasn’t happy, so he went towards Strickland and the two fought briefly as the benches and bullpens emptied onto the field. Harper was suspended four games, which was eventually reduced to three games.

Strickland, 28, will take the rest of the week off carrying a 2.08 ERA and a 26/13 K/BB ratio in 26 innings.