Starting this week, Major League Baseball umpires can check pitchers for foreign substances. During Tuesday's game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals, Phillies manager Joe Girardi asked the umpire to check Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer for a foreign substance during the middle of an inning.
Scherzer was visibly upset about being checked and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw supports Scherzer's viewpoint. In fact, Kershaw believes that there should be consequences for managers that calls for foreign substance checks and nothing is found.
"I think there should be a punishment if they don't catch anything on the guy," Kershaw said. "Scherzer is one of the best pitchers of our generation. To see him get checked, I think it was a first and third situation or guys on base, and mess up his rhythm. I think he ended up getting out of it, but you better find something if you're going to call him out like that."
Kershaw believes that Girardi was using the foreign substance check as a strategic move because Girardi was attempting to mess with Scherzer's rhythm. At the time of the check, the Nationals had a 3-1 lead over the Phillies.
The Dodgers ace did offer a penalty that the league could implement if nothing is found when an opposing manager asks for a foreign substance check.
"Maybe if they lose a challenge, or maybe if they have a challenge they can't do it. I don't know," Kershaw said. "But I do think there should be repercussions for managers doing that on a whim like that because if you call somebody out -- anybody, but somebody of Max Scherzer's caliber -- and you don't find anything, I think that looks pretty bad on his part, the manager's part."
Following the check, Scherzer got out of the fifth inning and didn't allow any runs. On his way to the Washington dugout, Scherzer stared down Girardi and the two exchanged words. Girardi ended up being ejected from the game as a result.
"I've seen Max a long time, since 2010 -- obviously, he's going to be a Hall of Famer -- but I've never seen him wipe his head like he was doing tonight, ever," Girardi said. "It was suspicious for me. He did it about four or five times. It was suspicious. I didn't mean to offend anyone. I just got to do what's right for our club."
These types of scenarios certainly aren't going to go away as the season moves along.