New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda earned his first MLB win since July 2011 on Thursday night, pitching six innings, allowing only four hits and a run while striking out seven as the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1.
But all that is being overshadowed by one question: What the heck was that on his Pineda's hand?
Broadcasters and TV viewers noticed early in the game that Pineda had what appeared to be pine tar globbed on his pitching hand. Pineda? More like Pine-Aid-Ya. While the commentators on TV and the Twittersphere went on and on about it, nobody at the game did anything.
After the game, Pineda played dumb, saying it was dirt on his hand, not pine tar. Yankees manager Joe Girardi pled ignorance too. The Red Sox, meanwhile, didn't seem bothered. And the umpiring crew reported no complaints.
Pineda said that he does not use pine tar. He said that his hand was sweating too much between innings and he rubbed dirt on it.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) April 11, 2014
David Ortiz: "Everybody uses pine tar. It's not a big deal."— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) April 11, 2014
Dustin Pedroia on Pineda’s substance: “I mean, I have pine tar on my bat. That's a non-issue.”— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) April 11, 2014
Crew chief Brian O'Nora said that the Red Sox did not bring any issue regarding Pineda/substances to their attention during tonight's game.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) April 11, 2014
Pitchers do a number of things to get a better grip on the ball. It's league-wide, most pitchers are just better at hiding it than Pineda. Some use rosin (which is legal), some use sunscreen mixed with rosin and others use pine tar. This, in theory, violates MLB's Rule 8.02, which states, "The pitcher shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball." It's a rule, though, that's not particularly enforced in those cases because both sunscreen and pine tar have a legal place in the game. Further, players accept their use, as does the league.
In this particular case, there's another reason the other side of the field was quiet. Opposing Pineda was Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox pitcher who last season became the poster boy for mixing rosin and BullFrog sunscreen. The Red Sox backed up their pitcher then, so they couldn't very well cry foul now.
The Red Sox were involved in another is-he-doctoring-the-ball scandal in last year's World Series. That involved Jon Lester. Even in stakes as high as the World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals weren't going to complain about it.
Like Pineda on Thursday night, it equaled a non-controvery, because this is the truth about the subject: People watching at home get more outraged than the people actually on the field.
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