Joe Maddon was ejected in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 5-2 loss against the Dodgers after a controversial call was overturned against the Cubs.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner hit a single into left field. Shortstop Charlie Culberson raced around third base to force a play at home plate. He was initially ruled out having never actually touched the plate, but the play was reviewed and overturned because Cubs catcher Willson Contreras blocked Culberson’s path to the plate before he had the ball.
An irate Maddon stormed onto the field to argue, furious at the decision and was ultimately ejected. He turned around and yelled at every ump he could find before leaving the field.
“I saw a great baseball play,” Maddon said after the game. “I saw (Kyle) Schwarber come in on a grounded ball, use his feet perfectly, make a low, great throw to the plate that could have been cut off, had we needed it to be, but did not because we chose to have it go to home plate. Perfect skip-hop, great play by Contreras. The ball kind of taking Willson towards the line, towards foul territory. He catches the ball, and his technique was absolutely 100 percent perfect.
“I could not disagree more with the interpretation of that. However, I will defend the umpires. The umpires did everything according to what they’ve been told, but I, from day one, have totally disagreed with the content of that rule. I think it’s wrong. I think there’s anybody that’s played Major League or even Minor League Baseball will agree with me 100 percent on that.”
Maddon added that he didn’t think Contreras blocked the plate outside of a legitimate baseball play.
“I don’t think the rule was called correctly either. From what I saw, the ball took Willson toward that line. I disagree with that. So I disagree with it on both counts,” Maddon said.
“I think their interpretation was the leg being stuck out, which they didn’t like. But like I said, just imagine yourself in the position that Willson was in physically and you’re sliding towards your left, and your leg and your feet are kind of close together. At some point that left leg’s got to kick out for you not to fall over.
“And the other point is to not hurt yourself. I mean, you could talk about not hurting the runner there or intentionally hurting the runner or the catcher, but there is also the possibility of hurting the runner.
“The runner there puts himself in an awkward position also by having to avoid — there is all kinds of awkwardness about that. Play the game. Just play the game, and there was no — it was just a perfect play that we got penalized on.”
The Cubs struck first Saturday, thanks to Albert Almora’s fourth-inning, two-run home run off of Clayton Kershaw. But the Dodgers rallied to score five unanswered runs, including the overturned one in the seventh inning.
Maddon will likely still be fuming over the overturned call when he shows up to the field Sunday, but he will have to get his team ready for a crucial Game 2 clash.