HOUSTON -- The Angels escaped a critical jam in the eighth inning of Sunday's 11-10 loss, but lost catcher Jonathan Lucroy in the process after he was barreled over at home plate by the Astros’ Jake Marisnick in a scary and controversial play that left manager Brad Ausmus calling for Marisnick’s suspension. On Monday, the Angels said that Lucroy sustained a concussion and a fractured nose, and that he will see an ear, nose and throat doctor after the swelling subsides.
With the game tied at 10-10 and one out, reliever Hansel Robles got George Springer to lift a fly ball into right field and Marisnick tried to tag up on the play. Kole Calhoun made a strong throw home, but as the throw got near the plate, Marisnick collided with Lucroy at full speed and the ball got past Lucroy.
Lucroy immediately received medical attention and was able to get up on his own accord, but was removed from the game on a cart. He had a towel over his mouth as he left but was alert.
The umpires then ruled that Marisnick was out at home for his illegal collision with Lucroy, giving the Angels a much-needed double play to end the inning. The Astros challenged the ruling, but it was upheld.
Ausmus, a Major League catcher for 18 seasons, including 10 with the Astros, wasn’t happy about the collision after the game, as he went back and watched video of it and didn’t mince his words.
“It certainly didn’t look like a clean play,” Ausmus said. “I don’t know what actually happened. It looked like Marisnick took a step to the left and bowled into him with his arm up. The call was right. Major League Baseball should probably take a look at it and consider some type of suspension, quite frankly.”
Marisnick explained he was taking an inside path to the plate and took a quick step to his left once he saw Lucroy in front of the plate. It led to a violent collision with Lucroy that Marisnick said was unintentional. Marisnick, at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds reached 29.2 feet per second while running home, which is quite a bit faster than the Major League average of 27 feet per second, which made it difficult for him to avoid contact.
“First and foremost I hope he's OK,” Marisnick said. “That was a bad play. For me, I was running and I see him take a step kind of up the line like he's going to drop and go back so I tried to take an in-step and slide head first on the inside corner. And I watched the play again and it looks like he just drops right in front of me and once I kind of made a decision it was too late. And it was a bad play, and I hope he's OK.”
Marisnick, who immediately checked on Lucroy after the play, also said he plans to contact Lucroy.
“It's terrible,” Marisnick said. “I wish him the best. I hope he's OK. I'm going to reach out to him and make sure he's OK.”
Astros manager A.J. Hinch also expressed his concern for Lucroy and explained what the umpires told him for why Marisnick was ruled out.
“The ruling is that he deviated from his path,” Hinch said. “And by the letter of the law and looking at it, it looked like [Marisnick] was coming down the line going as fast as he can and had to make a decision on whether to go left or right. As Lucroy was going to field the ball, he was either going to step in foul territory or you’re going to hug the line in fair territory. And they both picked the same area. That is why the rule was made, to avoid those collisions. I don’t fault Jake, because he wasn’t hunting him, he wasn’t going after him.”