When Chase Utley slid into and broke Ruben Tejada’s leg in Game 2 of the 2015 National League Division Series, the emotions understandably were much different for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets.
The play provided a spark for the Dodgers, who went on to tie the best-of-five series with a victory. The Mets were angered by Utley’s slide, though were unable to get any retribution over the remainder of the series.
While Utley was suspended two games, he appealed and remained eligible in the NLDS. He didn’t play in Games 3 and 4 at Citi Field, and only appeared as a pinch-hitter in Game 5.
During a four-game series at Dodger Stadium this year, the first meeting between the two clubs since the NLDS, the Mets again did not extract revenge for their former teammate.
That appeared to change Saturday night with Noah Syndergaard uncorking a 99 mph fastball that sailed behind Utley’s back. Syndergaard was immediately ejected, and so too was Mets manager Terry Collins after an argument with home plate umpire Adam Hamari.
According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, the ejection came as a surprise to Syndergaard:
“It was a very quick trigger,” Syndergaard said of the ejection, also maintaining that the pitch had no purpose. “I was just kind of dumbfounded. I’ve never been thrown out of a game before, so it was just kind of a whirlwind of emotions. It kind of rattled me a little bit, the reason I got thrown out. I was kind of at a loss for words.”
Syndergaard added he did not intentionally throw at Utley:
“Tonight was a warm one out there,” he said. “I got a little sweaty. It just got away from me a little bit.”
While the Citi Field crowd has showered Utley with a chorus of boos and unflattering chants, the veteran has continued to torment the franchise he did during his time with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Utley’s solo home run in the sixth inning broke a scoreless tie, and he put the game away with a grand slam in the seventh that extended the Dodgers’ lead to 6-0. Through the first two games of the series, Utley is 3-for-7 with one double, two home runs and nine RBIs.