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Sean Doolittle calls Joe Maddon’s protest ‘tired’

May 19, 2019

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon took issue with Nationals closer Sean Doolittle’s delivery in the ninth inning of Washington’s 5-2 win Saturday, filing an official protest with the league.

But Doolittle saw Maddon’s protest as nothing more than a “thinly veiled attempt” to disrupt his rhythm.

“In that moment, he’s not trying to do anything other than rattle me and it was kind of tired,” Doolittle told reporters. “I don’t know. Sometimes he has to remind people how smart he is and how much he pays attention to the game and stuff like that. He put his stamp on it for sure.”

Down 5-2 with no outs, Maddon insisted to the game’s umpires that Doolittle’s toe-tap delivery was illegal. He cited a previous instance in which Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. was told earlier in the season that he couldn’t do his version of a double toe tap.

Maddon came out to argue after Doolittle’s very first pitch. Home plate umpire Sam Holbrook ruled Doolittle his delivery was legal, but Maddon argued again after another two pitches.

“I said, ‘If you guys don’t clean it up, I’m going to protest the game,’” Maddon said. “It’s their rule, not mine. I didn’t ask for it in the first place.”

The Cubs officially filed their protest with one out in the inning. If MLB rules in Chicago’s favor, the game will be replayed from that point on.

MLB rules state a pitcher cannot take a second step toward the plate with either foot.

Rob Friedman of Pitching Ninja broke down the difference between Doolittle’s and Edwards’ motions:

Carl Edwards, Jr.’s Foot Plant vs Sean Doolittle’s Toe Tap.OBR 5.07(a): “A pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot.” pic.twitter.com/hSJrApg8hD Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 19, 2019

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