MLB has suspended Dodgers infielder, Chase Utley for the next two games of the National League Division Series. Utley was suspended for a late slide into second base during Game 2 that left Mets, Ruben Tejada with a broken leg. Utley will appeal the suspension and will be able to play until the appeal is compromised.
Nevertheless, the Dodgers won Game 2, 2-5 over the Mets, tying the best-of-5 series at 1-1. Utley was ruled safe at second base, which upon further review, was immediately noted to be against MLB rules. MLB Chief Baseball Officer, Joe Torre, said that “after thoroughly reviewing that play from all conceivable angles, I have concluded that Mr. Utley’s action warrants discipline. While I sincerely believe that Mr. Utley had no intention of injuring Ruben Tejada, and was attempting to help his Club in a critical situation, I believe his slide was in violation of Official Baseball Rule 5.09 (a) (13), which is designed to protect fielders from this type of rolling block that occurs away from the base” (MLB).
“A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgement, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play.”
Comment: “The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play” (MLB).
If the appropriate rule had been applied correctly during Game 2, the Mets would have been given a double play, and the inning would have been over, with the Mets up 2-1. In addition, the Mets quickly released a statement about the the suspension of Utley, saying it was “the appropriate course of action.”
However, on Twitter, the Dodgers responded to Utley’s decision to the appeal, “The Dodgers stand behind Chase Utley and his decision to appeal the suspension issued tonight by MLB. No further comment at this time.”