As the old saying goes: if at first you don't find any foreign substances, try, try again.
That's evidently how it might work with the new rules established by MLB's crackdown on pitchers, working to prevent an unfair advantage due to sticky materials they may be using while on the mound. We had many questions about how the crackdown, which officially went into effect on Monday, might look in action. And if Max Scherzer's showing on Tuesday night was any indication, it might not be as smooth-sailing as the league might prefer.
Scherzer was checked at the end of an inning in his start against the Phillies, and he certainly didn't seem too pleased with what went down.
He was even less enthused the second time through the check, flailing his arms up in the air in his frustration.
And then Joe Girardi entered the conversation, using his managerial powers — and perhaps trying to take advantage of Scherzer's annoyance — to ask for a third foreign substance check. Oh, yeah, and it came in the middle of an inning... while Scherzer was on the mound, ready to continue pitching. And if you thought his first two responses displayed some irritation, just wait until you see how the Nationals star reacted for the umpires' hat trick of substance checks.
I mean, what else is the guy supposed to do? Where else could he be hiding this sticky stuff after multiple checks and with the risk of a suspension looming as a result?
It's also probably smart to remember who you're dealing with here. His nickname name isn't Well-Mannered Max, or Mild Max. His name is Mad Max, and he was — pardon my French — done with Joe Girardi's sh--. After striking out J.T. Realmuto to end the fifth inning, the three-time Cy Young Award winner strode off the mound toward the dugout and acted as if he was in the world's most intimidating staring contest with the Phillies' skipper. Girardi didn't like it and was ejected as a result.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a fun example of how the league's crackdown is going so far. Promising stuff!