Michael Brantley, left, is tagged out by Oakland catcher John Jaso during the sixth inning of Monday's game. Brantley was attempting to score on a single by Ryan Raburn.
OAKLAND — Michael Brantley understands there is a lot of gray area when it comes to the new rule on home plate collisions. The Indians got caught up in it during the sixth inning of Monday’s opener at Oakland.
With one out in the inning and runners at second and third, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a ball that bounced off Sonny Gray’s leg. Gray quickly recovered and threw the ball to catcher John Jaso for the out.
There was some debate about whether or not Jaso tried to block Brantley without the ball, which is banned under the new rules.
"I did not have a lane, as you can see I slid into both of his legs with my shin. It’s a tough call but at the same time hopefully we can get that in our favor next time," Brantley said.
Indians manager Terry Francona couldn’t use a challenge but asked crew chief Mike Winters to review it. The situation was unique because only the crew chief can initiate those types of challenges. Winters was the one who made the call in question which is unique because Winters was asking the command center in New York to review his play.
In an interview with a pool reporter after the game, Winters said he wanted to confirm what he saw on the field, which was Jaso not blocking the plate unnecessarily. It appeared as if Jaso was doing it without the ball, which is illegal. Winters said that he saw Jaso give Brantley plenty of room around the plate to go.
"I want you guys (writers) to involved as much as we are because you know what we are just trying to get it right. I look at this as just another tool to help us get even more plays right," Winters said. "He’s totally in fair territory before the ball is thrown to him as the ball is thrown to him he catches and then steps in front of the runner and that’s all he can do. "
Brantley said he will not change how he slides in plays like that because if he does that might lead to an injury. But he also understands with the gray area involved that maybe next time the call goes in the Indians’ favor.
"It’s something new. There are going to be some interesting calls and different stuff that happens but I look forward to being on the other side," Brantley said.