Kemp, Chirinos ejected after home-plate scuffle

June 14th, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- A home-plate collision between Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and Rangers catcher on Wednesday night triggered a benches-clearing scrum and the ejection of both players for fighting in a game the Dodgers won in 11 innings, 3-2.
Kemp tried to score from second base on a two-out single to right by in the bottom of the third inning. Chirinos caught right fielder 's powerful throw on a bounce, and the catcher's momentum moved him into the path of Kemp, who bowled over Chirinos. When the pair got to their feet, they shoved each other and the benches and bullpens cleared.
Umpire crew chief Bill Welke said neither Kemp's slide or Chirinos' positioning in front of the plate violated any rules. Kemp was called out on the tag.

Kemp said he ran into the catcher instead of sliding because of the play in Washington in 2013, when he suffered a career-threatening ankle fracture sliding late into the plate after not initially running hard from third base on a two-out slow roller, not expecting a throw home.
"I thought it was a clean play," said Kemp. "Blocking the plate, ran him over. Pretty much that simple. I was out. It was the shoving match we had [that earned the ejections]. It's not a big deal. Two guys shoving each other and then it's over, really. Not that big of a deal, honestly. You all want more? We play them again in August. I don't think there will be anything coming from it. I'm just happy we got the win.

"I don't know the rule, but I didn't have a clear path to slide. All I could think about coming to the plate was Washington, when I slid in the plate and messed up my ankle. I didn't want to do that again. If I slide right there, I might get hurt."
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said since the ball arrived first, Kemp didn't have anywhere to go.
"He still has a right to the plate," said Roberts. "There's a collision right there. There was no intent. That's just hard-nosed baseball."

Said Chirinos: "I got mad. When he was starting to get up, he kind of leaned into me with his shoulder. That's when I pushed him. Part of the game. Sorry for the fans that are watching that. It's not supposed to happen, but it happens, man. I guess he got mad when I pushed him when he kind of went after me with his shoulder. After that, it was emotion and kind of happened."
Rangers manager Jeff Banister did not object to Kemp's play.

"The runner can't deviate and go into a catcher when he is not blocking the plate or in foul play," Banister said. "But if there's not a clear pathway, he has every right, by rule, to go through the catcher. You're not going to go through any catcher without lowering yourself. You have to protect yourself at some point. This is a big man who played under the previous rules also."
Baseball's rules regarding collision plays at the plate have been updated for the safety of catchers, and a runner that deviates from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher is out. But Welke said that wasn't the case with this collision, because the throw brought Chirinos into the path of Kemp and not the other way around. If Chirinos had blocked Kemp's path without the ball, Kemp would have been safe.
It was the second ejection of the season for Kemp and first for Chirinos.