Cubs Decide Not to Protest Saturday's Loss vs. Nationals over Sean Doolittle

Megan ArmstrongCorrespondent IIMay 20, 2019

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon argues with umpire Sam Holbrook (34) over the delivery of Washington Nationals relief pitcher Sean Doolittle during the ninth inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 18, 2019, in Washington. Maddon thought Doolittle was using an illegal delivery. Maddon believed the left-handed Doolittle was tapping his right toe on the ground before coming to the plate. The Nationals won 5-2. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon slept on it and changed his mind.

In the ninth inning of the Cubs' 5-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Saturday night, Maddon let the umpires know he was upset with the toe tap involved in Nationals closer Sean Doolittle's delivery to home plate, and the Cubs played the game under protest.

However, according to ESPN.com's Jesse Rogers, Chicago did not submit an official grievance with MLB during the 24-hour window.

A game is played under protest when a manager feels umpires have misapplied the rules, per MLB. "You're trying to delineate what is right and what is wrong," Maddon told Rogers on Sunday. "In my mind, it wasn't a judgment call. I thought it was black and white."

After pitching a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to close out the game, Doolittle brushed off Maddon's complaints to The Athletic's Brittany Ghiroli. "It was a thinly [veiled] attempt to throw me off my game," the two-time All-Star said before adding, "Sometimes [Maddon] has to remind people how smart he is. ... He put his stamp on that one for sure."

There was speculation as the spectacle unfolded that Maddon was picking this particular bone because the league had informed Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. in April that his similar delivery was illegal. The manager made his intentions clear when speaking to reporters Sunday.

"The whole thing I really wanted to get done was to protect Carl," Maddon said, according to the Associated Press (h/t Sports Illustrated). "I really didn't anticipate a whole lot to be done with [the protest] even though I still don't agree with the conclusion because I think it's exactly what Carl did, only a different version of it.

"But the point was, I would not be a good parent had I not spoken up for my guy."

While Saturday's 5-2 loss can't be changed, the Cubs had the last say in a roundabout way by beating Washington 6-5 Sunday to win their weekend series.

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