Umpires changing wild pitch to hit batsman irks Maddon
Jake Arrieta held a 4-0 lead before a strange fifth inning Sunday ended his outing.
Arrieta gave up a double to Tony Wolters and walked pinch hitter Raimel Tapia to start the inning. An initial call of a wild pitch to Charlie Blackmon advanced the runners until Rockies manager Bud Black came out to talk to plate umpire Marvin Hudson.
After all four umpires conferred, Blackmon was awarded first base as a hit batter.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon questioned the call and eventually lifted Arrieta.
“Apparently, there’s a rule that it’s not a challenge thing,’’ Maddon said of the decision allowing the umpires to confer in questions of a hit batsman. “My argument was how can you see it any differently from out there [on the field]. I think in those situations, you should use a challenge.’’
Carl Edwards Jr. (2-0) finished the inning and earned the victory, with Koji Uehara (two innings) and Wade Davis (13th save) finishing.
When the Cubs started 2016 on a roll that never ended, pitching was the difference compared to their 2015 playoff team.
That might be the difference for the 2017 Rockies, always known for their hitting.
“I knew they were good in the field and could play defense,’’ Maddon said. “But the difference between now and the last couple of years is definitely pitching.’’
The Rockies have the fourth-best ERA in the National League. Starter Tyler Chatwood, who won Thursday, could be the staff’s best, Maddon said.
“Keep an eye on this guy because what he’s doing now and how he’s doing it, by the end of the season, you’ll be talking about him a lot,’’ he said.
The amateur draft that begins Monday will be the first since the sudden death last fall of Stan Zielinski, one of the Cubs’ longtime local scouts whose successful signings included Kyle Schwarber.
“We always talk about Stan,’’ vice president of scouting Jason McLeod said this week, recalling “Stan-isms.’’
“We were reading a follow report [he prepared] on a kid, and it was along the lines of: ‘We have to treat this kid like a student driver. He’s new to this, and we just hope it’s not a bumpy ride, and it’s a smooth ride with him.’ We all got a chuckle about it.’’
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