Sticky stuff continues to plague MLB, only now it's led to many, many checks and threats to disrobe.
The Nationals were leading 3-1 with one out in the bottom of the fourth when Phillies manager Joe Girardi told the umpires to spot check Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer for sticky stuff—again.
Scherzer grew visibly frustrated, spiking his hat and gloves before starting to undo his belt. It marked the third time in four innings that the pitcher had been checked during the Tuesday night game. He was checked in the first and third innings, and with each check, no foreign substances were found.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez started yelling and pointing at Girardi and the Phillies dugout as an umpire walked him back to the dugout.
Girardi and Scherzer ended up in a hot exchange in the fifth inning with the Phillies manager coming out of the dugout to challenge him while Scherzer only stared Girardi down. The Phillies manager was then ejected, and the pitcher only lifted his gloves and hat in response.
During postgame interviews, Scherzer said he was touching his hair during the game because he was perspiring.
"I would be a super fool to use something tonight."
He added later that he was using a mix of rosin and his own perspiration during the game against the Phillies, but said what the league is doing now is "not the answer."
"I’m just trying to get a grip on the ball. You watch the previous at-bat I almost drilled someone in the face...I had zero feel of the baseball all night."
MLB is cracking down on the use of foreign substances and announced the new guidelines that a pitcher who "possesses or applies foreign substances" will face a 10-day suspension. The sudden change comes after news broke in recent weeks surrounding pitchers, like Tyler Glasnow, openly admitting they've used foreign substances to have a better grip on the ball.
"These are [Rob] Manfred rules," Scherzer said. "Go ask him what he wants to do with this. I've said enough. Go ask Alec Bohm how he feels about 95 (miles per hour) at his face."
Scherzer was not the only one who threatened to strip on Tuesday night. Here's how other pitchers reacted across the league when they got spot-checked.
More "Sticky Stuff" News:
- Baccellieri: MLB's Pitch-Doctoring Crackdown Presents New Problems for the League
- Apstein: MLB's Pitch Doctoring Scandal Goes Beyond Individual Offenders
- Apstein and Prewitt: He Made Sticky Stuff for MLB Pitchers for 15 Years. Now He's Speaking Out.
- Verducci: Sticky Cleanup: What Pitch-Doctoring Enforcement Means for MLB