Video: 'Dirty' Slide Sparks Dodgers' Victory Over Mets In Game 2
The first two games in the National League Divisional Series between the Dodgers and the Mets have been touted for the pitching matchups (with Mets ace Jacob deGrom beating Clayton Kershaw in Game 1), but Game 2 turned on an ugly play that has sparked fervor among fans and players alike.
Saturday night's Game 2 was another great matchup (and hair-off), with Zack Greinke and flamethrowing Mets rookie Noah Syndergaard facing off on the mound. In the bottom of the 7th inning, with the Dodgers trailing 2-1 but the tying run at third, Howie Kendrick hit a soft line-drive up the middle. After a relay from Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy, shortstop Ruben Tejada was blown up on a takeout slide from Chase Utley:
The double play was broken up on the slide, allowing the tying run to score and the Dodgers would subsequently blow the game open, eventually winning 5-2.
Win Probability for LAD had Utley’s slide been ruled illegal (7th inn over)=24%— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 11, 2015
Win Probability when Utley ruled safe, slide ruled legal=64%
To make matters worse for the Mets, Utley would be ruled safe on the replay and Ruben Tejada was carted off. It was later discovered that Tejada suffered a fractured fibula.
Although takeout slides at second base are an inherent part of baseball, the play has sparked debate whether or not Utley's slide was clean, or even legal. Utley's slide was very late, and some would argue that the path he takes makes it clear he's aiming for Tejada and not the bag. Even the L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke (Plaschke, of all people!) was critical of Utley, writing in his column, "Even if you were watching it through blue-colored glasses, you had to admit that the slide was recklessly dangerous, so much that it broke another man's leg." Utley, already despised by Mets fans since his Phillies days, did nothing to repair his image with them.
"Anytime you have an opportunity to break up a double play, you should do your best to do that," Utley said after the game. "I feel terrible that he was injured. I had no intent to hurt him whatsoever."
Players, both former and current, chimed in with their reactions:
Dirty play by utley— JOSE MOLINA (@Joeycatch8) October 11, 2015
If that was a superstar shortstop we would have a Tulo Rule being enforced tomorrow— Justin Upton (@JUST_JUP) October 11, 2015
It bothered me to see Utley's slide and the way he went after Tejada. Being a 2nd base man he needed to think how to break the DP not hisleg— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) October 11, 2015
Like it or not, Utley plays hard and I would want him on my team.— Mark Mulder (@markmulder20) October 11, 2015
And the 🔥#hottakes🔥 poured in from the peanut gallery:
Game 3 is in New York on Monday.