JABO: Chase Utley Tackles Ruben Tejada

When Bartolo Colon jogged in from the bullpen to replace Noah Syndergaard, we thought we were going to be talking about the wisdom of using a pitch-to-contact starter in relief when a strikeout was the preferred outcome. But then Howie Kendrick hit a line drive up the middle, which Daniel Murphy fielded and flipped to shortstop Ruben Tejada in an effort to turn an inning-ending double play. And then this happened.

There’s no real way to describe this play in any other way than this: Chase Utley, realizing his role shifted from baserunner to defender, barreled into Ruben Tejada with the intention of preventing him from throwing the ball to first base. To do this, Utley waited until the last possible moment to slide, not even attempting to touch the base as his body upended Tejada, whose legs were taken out from under him and then landed violently on the ground. The impact forced Tejada to be removed from the game.

Read the rest on Just a Bit Outside.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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8 years ago

I love that everyone keeps saying “Chase Utley tackled Tejada”, because lots of people tackle people’s knees with their face, lol.

8 years ago
Reply to  Ivdown

Utley very clearly intended to take out Ruben, maybe not hurt, but he wanted him out. It was a dirty slide.

triple-A city
8 years ago
Reply to  FeslenR

He was mimicking the tackles of the concurrent Mexico-USA soccer game

8 years ago
Reply to  triple-A city

No in soccer this gets an automatic suspension and a red card. Only mlb let people intentionally hurt other people

8 years ago
Reply to  Ivdown

“Sliding” is a real thing. It involves a player’s inertia overcoming the friction of the player’s body making continuous contact with the ground, thus resulting in a player “sliding” rather than “stopping”. To do this, the player has to both stop running, and make contact with the ground.

In this case, there was no ground-caused friction. There was only inertia, because Utley neither stopped running, nor made contact with the ground. Maybe calling it a leg first tackle is a better definition, but it was a tackle nonetheless.