The Los Angeles Dodgers finished a two-game sweep of the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, winning 3-2 in extra innings. The victory did not come without some controversy, though.
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos were both ejected after colliding at home plate in the third inning. In an attempt to score from second on Kiké Hernandez’s single, Kemp chose to run straight into Chirinos instead of slide. Chirinos was clearly blocking the plate, making Kemp’s choice legal.
However, Chirinos took exception with Kemp, shoving the outfielder. That led to both benches clearing and Chirinos exchanging some jabs with Cody Bellinger.
Kemp defended his choice to not slide after the game, saying he was spooked by a similar play in July 2013. Kemp, then in his first stint with the Dodgers, suffered a severe ankle injury in a late slide at home plate against the Washington Nationals. He would miss the rest of the season.
He did not want history to repeat itself on Wednesday, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“I don’t know the rule, but I didn’t have a clear path to slide. All I could think about coming to the plate was Washington, when I slid in the plate and messed up my ankle. I didn’t want to do that again. If I slide right there, I might get hurt.”
Chirinos said after the game that he was not upset that Kemp ran into him. The catcher claimed that he only reacted because Kemp pushed him when he was getting back up. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and his Rangers counterpart, Jeff Bannister, also defended the veteran’s decision not to slide.
The Dodgers and Rangers will play two more games this season, on Aug. 28-29 in Texas. Hopefully, no bad blood will carry over into that series.
Los Angeles eventually walked off in the 11th inning when Hernandez avoided a tag at home plate to score the winning run.
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