Scherzer incensed after Girardi requests mid-inning substance check
Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi drew the ire of the Washington Nationals after asking umpires to check Max Scherzer for foreign substances during Tuesday's game - and he soon saw his night end early.
Scherzer - whose reaction to the umpires' first check earlier in the game went viral - was visibly frustrated as officials converged on the mound. He slammed his hat and glove to the ground while motioning for the umpires to check him. He could be seen saying, "It's sweat" after running his hands through his hair.
Nationals skipper Dave Martinez was equally incensed and came out to argue his case. Girardi, meanwhile, exited the home dugout and tried to chime in from a distance. Umpires found nothing on Scherzer, who remained in the game.
Scherzer stared down the Phillies' dugout after he completed the fifth inning. Girardi took the field screaming at the Nationals' dugout and had to be held back while the pitcher gestured at him.
Girardi said postgame he asked the umpires to check Scherzer after seeing him repeatedly wipe his head and hair while on the mound.
"I've seen Max pitch a long time. I've never seen Max wipe his head like he did tonight," he said, according to John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia. "I was suspicious. I'm trying to win games here. I'm not playing games."
Scherzer said he was only using rosin, which is legal. He was wiping his hair to try to use a mix of sweat and rosin for moisture to get a better grip on the baseball.
"I would have to be an absolute fool to use something (else) tonight," the 36-year-old said, according to Matt Weyrich of NBC Sports Washington.
Martinez opted not to address Girardi's actions directly during his postgame press conference.
"There was no sticky stuff. Let's just say that. The umpires checked," Martinez said, according to Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan. "I think Joe has to answer the tough questions tonight."
The incident came on the second day of umpires conducting random checks of pitchers for foreign substances. The rules prohibiting pitchers from doctoring the baseball previously went unenforced unless a manager asked officials to check a pitcher.
Scherzer finished his night holding the Phillies to two hits and one earned run while striking out eight over five innings of work. The Nationals won 3-2.