Baseball is cracking down on pitchers using things to help them enhance their grip on the ball. It’s led to plenty of grumbling around the league — one pitcher, Tampa Bay Rays ace Tyler Glasnow, is convinced this led to him suffering a potentially season-ending injury — and on Tuesday night, we got a sense of how extremely annoyed Washington Nationals star Max Scherzer is with the whole thing.
Scherzer was on the mound against the Philadelphia Phillies. On several occasions, Scherzer was checked to see if he was using grip, and the pitcher wasn’t a big fan of the stoppage to take care of this.
max scherzer is pissed about getting checked for using a foreign substance pic.twitter.com/hcHa6vhVew
— OPT (@OnePursuitTakes) June 22, 2021
Then, Phillies manager Joe Girardi called for a third check, and Scherzer got so annoyed that he came awfully close to pulling his pants down while on the mound to get his point across.
This is incredible.
Joe Girardi asked the umpires to check Max Scherzer for sticky stuff again.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) June 23, 2021
Ultimately, though, Scherzer and the Nats got the last laugh, as the prodded Girardi to the point that he got ejected.
Max Scherzer just struck out J.T. Realmuto to end the fifth and stared at Joe Girardi the whole way to the dugout. When Girardi walked out to say something, Max held up his glove and hat again, taunting him.
Girardi was ejected.
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) June 23, 2021
Max Scherzer stared down Joe Girardi as he ended the fifth inning. Girardi is enraged. He walked onto the field and appeared to be challenging someone to come near him.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) June 23, 2021
This is great theater. pic.twitter.com/MTWIbLbVDJ
— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) June 23, 2021
MLB did such an awful job of rolling this out — the crackdown on things that give pitchers more grip came midseason and was sweeping to the point that they aren’t allowed to use anything, with an automatic ejection and 10-day suspension for anyone caught using anything — that Girardi is taking advantage of this in an attempt to throw Scherzer off his game. Of course, that implies the tactic would work, and seeing as how Scherzer allowed one run in five innings before Girardi got tossed, that was not the case.