A scary play unfolded at Houston's Minute Maid Park during the eighth inning of Sunday's Angels-Astros game (HOU 11, LAA 10 in 10 innings). Pinch-runner Jake Marisnick attempted to tag up from third base, and that led to a play at the plate with Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy attempting to apply the tag. Here's what happened:
That's a brutal collision, and as you can see Marisnick was immediately concerned about Lucroy:
Lucroy was carted off the field, but he was able to walk to the cart under his own power. The update:
MEDICAL UPDATE: Jonathan Lucroy was removed from today’s game after a collision at home plate. He is on his way to a local hospital for a CT scan and will be evaluated for a possible concussion and nose fracture.— Angels PR (@LAAngelsPR) July 7, 2019
Marisnick commented on the play after the game on Twitter, saying he made a "split second decision" and sending well wishes to Lucroy.
Through my eyes I thought the play was going to end up on the outside of the plate. I made a split second decision at full speed to slide head first on the inside part of the plate. That decision got another player hurt and I feel awful. I hope nothing but the best for @JLucroy20— Jake Marisnick (@JSMarisnick) July 8, 2019
As for the controversial nature of the play, Marisnick was called out, and that call was upheld on review. Here's the rule in question, as it was explained at the time it was adopted prior to the 2014 season:
A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate). If, in the judgment of the Umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the Umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball).
Exceptions are made if the catcher, while not in the act of receiving a throw, fails to leave the runner a clear path to the plate. Lucroy in his initial setup appeared to leave Marisnick space on the back side of the plate. Now have a look at this angle:
In this footage, Marisnick indeed appears to alter his path in order to make contact with Lucroy. But now take a look at this angle:
In this one, Marisnick appears to begin his veer toward the front of the plate before Lucroy moves toward the throw from Kole Calhoun, which means Lucroy put himself in Marisnick's direct path. While taking that angle seems quite unwise on Marisnick's part insofar as touching the plate and scoring a run are concerned, his early veer seen in this footage suggests he wasn't intentionally trying to deck Lucroy.
As with any play such as this, perceptions are going to track to rooting interests for the most part. The run came off the board, but the Astros wound up winning anyway. As for Lucroy, the hope is that he's not seriously injured and that he somehow avoided a concussion.