MLB was met by plenty of criticism since announcing rules against foreign substances would be enforced going forward, and then went into overdrive Tuesday when Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi asked umpires to inspect Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer in the fourth inning.
While umpires have been tasked with random checks of players — presumed to primarily be position players — managers have been given the right to call for one as well. Umpires had already examined Scherzer’s cap, glove and hands after the first and third innings.
The ever-fiery competitor appeared annoyed by the situation but fully complied and was cleared. Scherzer grew more animated when umpires approached him upon Girardi’s request, which proved futile. Girardi then exchanged words with Scherzer and was ejected.
“I think there should be a punishment if they don’t catch anything on the guy,” Clayton Kershaw said after the Los Angeles Dodgers lost a second consecutive game to the San Diego Padres.
“Scherzer, he’s one of the best pitchers of our generation. To see him get checked, I think it was a first-and-third situation or guys on base and mess up his rhythm, I think he ended up getting out of it. But you better find something if you’re going to call him out like that.
“Maybe there should be a punishment if a manager checks a guy and there isn’t anything, or something like that. Other than that, it is what is. It’s whatever. … I mean, it’s a good technique. A guy going in a rhythm, and maybe you have someone on base, have him checked, it throws you off.
“It’s something you’re not used to. Maybe they lose a challenge, or maybe if they have a challenge they can’t do it. I don’t know. But I think there should be some repercussions for managers just doing it on a whim like that.
“Because if you call somebody out — anybody, but somebody of Max Scherzer’s caliber — and you don’t find anything, I think that looks pretty bad on the manager’s part.”
Kershaw understanding of MLB’s goal
Kershaw went six innings against the Padres and passed the same checks Scherzer was subjected to. He acknowledged an awkwardness with the situation but can see MLB’s overall purpose.
“They’re just doing their job. They were told what to do,” Kershaw said of needing to take a moment with umpires. “I think it’s a little weird and kind of a funny look in general. I guess that’s what they want, so we’ll do it.”
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