Cora: Red Sox pitching struggles not connected to sticky substances
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora doesn't attribute his pitching staff's recent struggles to Major League Baseball's looming crackdown on sticky substances being applied to baseballs.
"I don't believe so. Obviously the take will be out there," Cora said, according to Bill Koch of the Providence Journal. "I don't think struggling has to do with stuff. Those guys are really good, too."
Red Sox starting pitchers have allowed 40 earned runs over their last 39 innings. The Toronto Blue Jays outscored the Red Sox 31-12 over the first three games of their series, including an 18-4 drubbing on Sunday afternoon.
Starting pitcher Martin Perez allowed five earned runs on six hits (three home runs) and one walk in 1 1/3 innings on Sunday. He echoed Cora's sentiment.
"I'm not a cheating pitcher," Perez said, according to Christopher Smith of MassLive.
He added: "I don't put anything on my arm, anything on my glove."
MLB vowed to monitor pitchers more closely in an effort to stop the use of sticky substances that enhance pitcher grip and the spin rates of their pitches. Though the league has yet to officially implement punishments or protocols related to the violations, umpires are expected to perform regular checks during games in the near future.
Umpires will check starters at least twice per game and relievers at least once, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. If substances are found, the pitcher will reportedly be ejected and his equipment will be confiscated.
Despite the recent pitching implosion, the Red Sox have gone 6-4 in their last 10 and could still salvage a series split with the Blue Jays with a win on Monday.