Cubs manager Joe Maddon formally protested the team's 5-2 loss to the Nationals Saturday, claiming Washington closer Sean Doolittle used an illegal delivery.
After Doolittle's first pitch in the ninth inning, Maddon came out to argue that Doolittle's delivery includes a toe tap, a move that has been ruled illegal in the past, including an incident involving Chicago reliever Carl Edwards Jr. earlier this season. The umpires huddled and then consulted with Doolittle, before allowing him to continue using the delivery.
Joe Maddon has protested the Cubs vs Nationals game, arguing (presumably) that Sean Doolittle was throwing illegal pitches. Here's the pitch that ultimately led to the protest. pic.twitter.com/vcN5ccbUYo
— Ben Porter (@Ben13Porter) May 19, 2019
"I said, 'If you guys don't clean it up, I'm going to protest the game,'" Maddon told reporters after the game. "It's their rule, not mine. I didn't ask for it in the first place."
Maddon came out once again to argue his case, to no avail.
"It's real simple," Maddon said. "That's exactly what Carl was told he can't do. I was told that's an illegal pitch and he can't do it."
"[Maddon] thought he was tapping his foot, which in itself is not illegal, and this all kind of stems from his pitcher being called on something that was a little bit different than what Doolittle was doing," crew chief Sam Holbrook told a pool reporter. "So in our judgment, Doolittle did nothing illegal at all."
Managers are allowed to file a protest if they believe umpires have misapplied a rule, and that decision affected the game's outcome. If MLB rules in Maddon's favor, the game would be resumed with one out in the ninth.
Doolittle's take on the issue?
“In that moment, he's not trying to do anything other than rattle me,” he said (via MLB.com). “And it was kind of tired. I don't know, sometimes he has to remind people how smart he is and how much he pays attention to the game. So he put his stamp on it, for sure."