The Washington Nationals win on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs hearkens back to a previous incident between the Nats and manager Joe Maddon.
The Washington Nationals 5-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night was one of the team’s better performances of its so far rocky 2019 campaign. Featuring an excellent outing by starter Stephen Strasburg, solid production from a lineup that is getting healthier by the day and a clean save by Sean Doolittle, the Nats evened their series with the National League Central leaders at 1-1 as Washington won its sixth game in its last ten contests.
While Doolittle’s outing went without a hitch as far as his duels with Cubs’ hitters, the appearance was not without some drama. Believing that the game’s umpires were allowing Doolittle to use a delivery that one of his pitchers had not been permitted to use earlier in the year, Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon stopped the game twice to argue with the umpires and eventually protested the game.
Maddon’s eventful ninth inning was not the first time he was in the center of a controversy in a game played in Nationals Park. Back in Washington’s first division winning season in 2012, Maddon’s Tampa Bay Rays visited Washington for a three-game series that started with drama.
In the first game of the series, Tampa Bay led 5-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth when Maddon called on former National Joel Peralta to preserve the visitor’s lead. Before Peralta could face a batter, Washington manager Davey Johnson asked home plate umpire Corey Blaser to check Peralta’s glove for a foreign substance, Finding pine tar on the glove, Blaser ejected Peralta from the game.
Rays’ relievers Jake McGee and Fernando Rodney were able to preserve the win for the visitors as the Nats went down in order in both the eighth and ninth innings. The real fun began after the game when Maddon complained that Johnson had violated an unwritten baseball rule by reporting former National Peralta’s pine tar use to the umpires. When informed of Maddon’s thoughts on the subject, Johnson said that he did not know Maddon well but always thought he was a “weird wuss.”
While Maddon and the Rays won the battle in the series’ opening game, Johnson and the Nats won the war with 3-2 and 5-2 victories to end the well played and hard-fought set that featured a solid play on the field and some old-school gamesmanship between two of baseball’s more colorful and quotable managers.