Looking to curb the widespread usage of foreign substances on baseballs, MLB reportedly has instructed umpires to begin regularly examining pitchers during games. The expectation is that this will be enforced within the next week or two.
The decision comes amid speculation that dozens of pitchers are doctoring baseballs to increase their spin rates and gain an edge on hitters. Many have attributed this to the historically poor offensive numbers and high strikeout totals around the league this season.
Los Angeles Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer is suspected to have used sticky substances on baseballs in the past, as his spin rate dramatically increased after the 2018 season.
The right-hander additionally led all pitchers last year with an average four-seam fastball spin rate of 2,822 revolutions per minute. He was among several pitchers investigated by MLB earlier this season, but nothing significant came of it.
All eyes were on Bauer during his start against the Atlanta Braves last weekend, as it was his first following the news that the league would begin cracking down on pitchers using foreign substances.
Bauer went six innings and allowed three runs on six hits while striking out seven and walking four. His average fastball spin rate dropped by a little more than 200 revolutions per minute but his velocity remained the same.
“I’m not worried about Trevor,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the potential impact on Bauer. “Like I said earlier, it could’ve easily been six innings, one run, two runs. He gave us a chance to win. I’m not too concerned about Trevor.”
Bauer felt he threw the ball well and praised MLB for finally making their intentions clear with pitchers using sticky substances.
“The ball was coming out fine. All I’ve ever wanted was to be on a fair playing field, so if MLB is going to be consistent with that, then I thought the ball was coming out fine,” he initially said when asked about spin rates and foreign substances.
“I want to compete on a fair playing field. I think everyone wants to compete on a fair playing field. So if they’re serious about actually doing something about the rule that’s on the books, then that’s all I’ve wanted for four years.
“It’s nice to see them finally catching up to something I have been talking to them about for four years. We’ll see what they do. Unfortunately, at MLB, a lot of times nothing gets done until their hand gets forced and it becomes a public issue. Hopefully the game gets cleaned up. That’s all we all want.
“We just want to know what the rules are, know what’s going to be enforced and compete on a fair playing field. I guess the ball is in their court to see what they actually do about it.”
Angels’ Mike Trout agrees with Bauer on foreign substances
Other players have shared their thoughts on MLB taking a stand against pitchers using foreign substances. L.A. Angels star Mike Trout agreed with Bauer’s assessment of wanting a level playing field for everybody.
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