During the course of an eventual 3-2 Cubs win in Wrigley Field on Monday night, Padres center fielder Matt Szczur kept the lead intact against his former teammates with an excellent throw home to cut down the would-be tying run in Anthony Rizzo.
The play was something we don’t see very often at all any more, because the Cubs first baseman bowled over catcher Austin Hedges:
Hedges would leave the game with a bruised thigh. The Padres seemed pretty angry after the game about this play, specifically seen in comments from manager Andy Green.
He did clarify he doesn’t think Rizzo is dirty, but that the play wasn’t acceptable:
This wouldn’t have been a discussion a handful of years ago, but the rules regarding collisions at home plate have since been tightened. It was getting a bit out of hand, with players seemingly chasing catchers down the line to bowl them over. MLB instituted Rule 7.13 as a result.
Right off the bat, let’s dispel this myth that collisions are banned. They aren’t. The rule was just given some shark-strong teeth as to when a player is allowed to clean the catcher’s clock.
Here is the main portion of the rule. I’ll bold the parts that seem to apply most here:
(1) A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate), or otherwise initiate an avoidable collision. If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact…