10 Apr 2014
Was Michael Pineda cheating tonight? This looks like a “foreign” substance to me. I certainly don’t think it was sweat and dirt.
But here’s the thing, the Red Sox didn’t ask the umpires to examine him. I can only think of three reasons for that.
1- They weren’t aware of it.
2- They were aware of it, but decided not to do anything now.
3- They were afraid to ask the umpire to look at Pineda because they didn’t want to have the Yankees return the “favor” against one of their pitchers.
I find reason #1 impossible to believe in this day and age. YES openly talked about it during the game and I am sure NESN did too. Someone could have gotten a message to the Red Sox to ask the umpires to check Pineda.
Reason #2 is plausible. This happens in hockey a lot when a team is aware that an opposing player is using an illegal stick. Since it’s a penalty, teams wait until the best moment to ask for a measurement so they can maximize their advantage. Now baseball is different. A pitcher who gets caught with an illegal substance is automatically ejected and gets an eight-game suspension. Maybe the Red Sox judged that it would be better to wait for a bigger situation to have the umpires inspect Pineda. I agree that the 10th game of the season is hardly a big spot. But, the Yankees’ got roughed up Tuesday and their bullpen is tired a bit of a mess in general. Losing Pineda in this game would have hurt and having him miss his next start would hurt even more. So I would say the Red Sox made a strategic error if they thought that it was better to wait than confront this problem now.
That brings me to reason #3 and this is where things get really messy. You may remember that Jon Lester caused a bit of controversy during the World Series. And Clay Buchholz, tonight’s starter, was accused of throwing spitballs last year. So maybe the Red Sox looked at the situation and decided they didn’t want to risk having one of their pitchers, both of whom I would consider better than Pineda, searched at some point in the future? After all you can’t throw stones from glass houses.
Maybe David Ortiz gave us the answer when he said tonight, “Everybody in the league does it” Sadly, I think he did.