Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp was ejected Wednesday night after he helped start an all-out brawl between his team and the Texas Rangers, and later admitted he doesn’t understand a new MLB rule related to the fight.
Matt Kemp, Robinson Chirinos Ejected After Dodgers-Rangers Fight
The brawl started in the third inning after Kemp tried to score from second base on Enrique Hernandez’s single to right field. The ball was tossed to home plate well before Kemp reached it but he still decided to dive for the score. He crashed hard into Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos and knocked him over, even causing Chirinos’s helmet to come off.
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Unsurprisingly, Chirinos became upset and a shoving match between him and Kemp ensued before both teams’ benches cleared at Dodger Stadium. The two players were ejected from the contest, which the Dodgers won 3-2 in 11 innings.
Rangers starting pitcher Cole Hamels even attempted to hold back Kemp as Chirinos tried to throw punches at him. Carlos Perez and Joc Pederson replaced Chirinos and Kemp, respectively.
After the game, Kemp dismissed the incident as simply “two guys shoving each other, and it’s over,” according to ESPN.
Kemp added he does not fully comprehend the league’s new rules regarding runners and catchers, and believes many other players are also confused by it. New rules say runners cannot crash into catchers, and that the latter need to give the former a clear lane to reach the plate. In this case, Chirino stepped directly into Kemp’s path to home base to make the catch.
“I think it’s unclear to everybody,” Kemp said about the newer rule. “He was blocking the plate. I don’t know the rule. I don’t even know how it works. I didn’t have a clear path to slide. All I could really think about when I saw him blocking the plate was Washington when I slid into home and messed up my ankle. I didn’t want to do that again.”
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Crew chief Bill Welke reportedly stated following the game that the Dodgers outfielder didn’t break the rule.
No suspensions have as of yet been announced for Kemp, Chirinos or any other players involved in Wednesday’s brawl.
The Dodgers (35-32) are second in the NL West, two games behind Arizona. Los Angeles next hosts San Francisco on Friday at 10:10pm EST for the opener of a three-game series.
The Rangers (27-43) are fifth in the AL West.