After Kyle Hendricks gave up a home run to Jeremy Hazelbaker in the 9th inning last night, ending his no-hit bid, it was clear that the Cubs were going to want to go to the bullpen. Given the time of the year, the depth of the start, and the greater needs of the club, letting Hendricks head on to the showers after his near-100 pitches sounded like a fine plan.
The only issue was that the homer came against the very first batter of the inning, which meant that closer Aroldis Chapman hadn’t had a lot of time to warm up in the bullpen.
So, on Joe Maddon’s instruction, Miguel Montero was to head out to the mound, where Hendricks and the infield was waiting. But as Montero tried to head out that way, home plate umpire Joe West stopped Montero and apparently told him that if he went out, it would count as a mound visit (Cubs.com). Maddon didn’t understand, came out for clarification and to express his disagreement, and, well …
Why West stopped Montero in the first place is strange (to be generous), but once that had happened, Maddon was right to come out and voice his displeasure. And then once Maddon did that, it becomes understandable that West ejected Maddon, even if it never should have happened in the first place.
The thing is, with all the explaining and arguing and ejecting going on, Chapman had plenty of time to get warm. He came into the game, locked it down, and it all becomes something we can chuckle about.