Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon has found an unexpected person to blame after Anthony Rizzo’s takeout slide from Monday’s game. He seems to think Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz was at fault for the whole thing.
Maddon made sure not to say Diaz’s name, but there are multiple instances where he blames the catcher for his “technique.”
Here is one area where Maddon and Hurdle disagree. Hurdle: "There is nothing he (Diaz) could have done differently, IMO." Maddon: "You have to teach proper technique. He has to get out further."
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 29, 2018
Maddon said if Diaz makes a good throw and doesn't fall down "We aren't talking about this."
"The catcher has an option to get rid of the ball more quickly, get farther out in front of home plate, or just hold on to it. He could have done those three things also."
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 29, 2018
Rizzo has come under fire after taking out Diaz in the eighth inning of Monday’s game. With the bases loaded, Rizzo slid into Diaz to try and break up a possible double play. Diaz fell while trying to throw the ball to first to complete the double play. His throw sailed to the outfield, causing two runs to score.
That’s completely Diaz’s fault, according to Maddon. He believes Diaz should have gotten farther away from the plate in order to make the plate. Pictures show Diaz had completely cleared the batter’s box when he tried to throw to first for the double play.
While Maddon thinks Diaz was at fault, the league disagrees. After reviewing the play, Major League Baseball informed the Cubs and Pirates that Rizzo should have been called for interference on the play.
Maddon was quick to come to Rizzo’s defense, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Managers will always back their players. Maddon, however, may have taken things too far with his comments. It’s one thing to say Rizzo was playing hard and it happened in the heat of the moment. It’s another to deny any wrongdoing by Rizzo, while repeatedly suggesting Diaz was at fault.
Tuesday’s game has the potential to provide additional storylines, so it’s possible Maddon won’t have to address Rizzo’s slide moving forward. That might be the best. Maddon didn’t exactly cover himself in glory discussing the issue prior to Tuesday’s game.
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