Phillies manager Joe Girardi wasted no time asking umpires to check an opposing pitcher for a foreign substance.
Girardi had umpires check Washington starter Max Scherzer with one out in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game at Citizens Bank Park.
Scherzer was found to have nothing on his person.
An inning after the inspection, Scherzer stared down Girardi. Girardi climbed the dugout stairs and started out toward the field. He was intercepted by umpires and ejected from the game.
Scherzer, who had been randomly checked twice earlier in the game, was not happy that Girardi asked for him to be inspected in the fourth inning. Neither was Washington manager Dave Martinez.
As the umpires approached Scherzer, the pitcher dropped his glove and his cap to the ground and unbuckled his belt for easier inspection. The pitcher even looked at the Phillies’ dugout and ran his fingers through his hair, as if to say he was clean.
During the inspection, Martinez angrily gestured at Girardi and the Phillies manager gestured back from his dugout.
The inspection came with the Phillies trailing 3-1 and a man on first base. After the inspection, Scherzer walked Brad Miller then got two quick outs to end the inning.
On Monday, Major League Baseball began a crackdown against pitchers applying foreign substances to baseballs. A pitcher found applying a foreign substance to the baseball is subject to a 10-game suspension.
The Phillies were off Monday.
Before Tuesday’s game, Girardi said he would not hesitate to ask umpires to check a pitcher if he suspected foul play.
“I think you have to think about it if you suspect it, yeah,” he said. “I would hope, though, that if they see something that’s a repetitive action, the umpires would check.”
Girardi said he would not employ any gamesmanship. He would only ask an umpire to check a pitcher if he saw good reason to.
“I’m not going to play games,” he said. “That’s silly. It’s just if you see something that’s clear cut, you’ll probably ask them.”