- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 19, 2019

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon took issue with Nationals closer Sean Doolittle’s delivery in the ninth inning of Washington’s 5-2 win Saturday, filing an official protest with the league. 

But Doolittle saw Maddon’s protest as nothing more than a “thinly veiled attempt” to disrupt his rhythm. 

“In that moment, he’s not trying to do anything other than rattle me and it was kind of tired,” Doolittle told reporters. “I don’t know. Sometimes he has to remind people how smart he is and how much he pays attention to the game and stuff like that. He put his stamp on it for sure.”

The Cubs later dropped the protest before playing Sunday’s rubber match with the Nationals.

Down 5-2 with no outs, Maddon insisted to the game’s umpires that Doolittle’s toe-tap delivery was illegal. He cited a previous instance in which Cubs reliever Carl Edwards Jr. was told earlier in the season that he couldn’t do his version of a double toe tap.

“The whole thing I really wanted to get done was to protect Carl,” Maddon said Sunday. I really didn’t anticipate a whole lot to be done with it even though I still don’t agree with the conclusion because I think it’s exactly what Carl did, only a different version of it. But the point was I would not be a good parent had I not spoken up for my guy.”

Maddon came out to argue after Doolittle’s very first pitch. Home plate umpire Sam Holbrook ruled Doolittle his delivery was legal, but Maddon argued again after another two pitches.

I said, ‘If you guys don’t clean it up, I’m going to protest the game,’” Maddon said. “It’s their rule, not mine. I didn’t ask for it in the first place.”

The Cubs officially filed their protest with one out in the inning. If they had not retracted the protest and MLB ruled in Chicago’s favor, the game would have to be replayed from that point on.

MLB rules state a pitcher cannot take a second step toward the plate with either foot. 

Rob Friedman of Pitching Ninja broke down the difference between Doolittle’s and Edwards’ motions:

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