Sean Doolittle does a tap dance on Joe Maddon's mind games

Sporting News
The Nationals' closer powered through the Cubs manager's ingenious attempt to disrupt him.
The Nationals' closer powered through the Cubs manager's ingenious attempt to disrupt him.

Here's the Cliff's Notes version of the ninth inning of Cubs-Nationals on Saturday night: Toe tap, no tap, Joe's chapped, Doo claps back.

The longer version: Cubs manager Joe Maddon was upset that Nats closer Sean Doolittle was allowed to tap his front foot on the mound while delivering a pitch, and he argued with the umpires about it.

Fox Sports 1 broadcaster Len Kasper, the Cubs' regular TV voice, reminded viewers that MLB told Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. earlier this season that his toe tap constituted an illegal pitch. In Maddon's mind, umpires should have treated Doolittle the same.

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Maddon eventually protested the game.

MORE: Watch 'ChangeUp,' a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZN

A video comparison of the motions and what Doolittle said umpires told him Saturday:

That's part of why Doolittle wasn't fazed by the gamesmanship. He retired the Cubs in order in the ninth inning to nail down a save. Afterward, he tweaked Maddon and his reputation for being a baseball savant:

Given Doolittle's comments, Maddon's protest probably isn't worth, well, something that rhymes with tap.

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