Scherzer blasts Manfred, substance checks: 'This is not the answer'
Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer was the first pitcher to appear bothered by MLB's new policy to check hurlers for foreign substances midgame, and he certainly sounded upset following Tuesday's contest.
Umpires checked the three-time Cy Young winner three times for sticky substances during Tuesday's game. One of the searches followed a request by Phillies manager Joe Girardi, who was later ejected for yelling at the Nationals dugout.
But Scherzer laid the blame at the feet of commissioner Rob Manfred.
"These are Manfred rules. Go ask him what he wants to do with this," Scherzer said, according to Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic. "I've said enough. Go ask Alec Bohm how he feels about 95 (mph) at his face. I don't need to say any more about this."
Before one substance check, Scherzer lost control of a fastball that buzzed Bohm up and in. The seven-time All-Star admitted postgame he "had zero feel of the baseball" and needed to use sweat, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic.
"It's going to be dangerous if you're in a cold game and you have no sweat," Scherzer added, according to Stark. "What are we going to do then?"
Scherzer, 36, earned the win despite the interruptions, allowing one run on two hits and three walks while striking out eight over five innings.
MLB's pitcher checks officially began this week as the league looks to eliminate the use of sticky substances that have helped precipitate all-time highs in pitch spin rates and all-time lows in batting averages. Foreign substances that help pitchers maintain their grip on the baseball have been illegal for decades, but the rules have gone largely unenforced.