Washington Nationals' Max Scherzer Begins to Strip On-Field After Repeated Searches for Sticky Substances

Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer was inspected three times for the use of sticky substances, leading him to strip when searched for the third time, as mentioned by ESPN. The first two inspections came after the first and third innings, which is normal considering the league told starting pitchers they will be checked as much as twice per outing. But the third inspection in the fourth inning set Scherzer off. Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi wanted the umpires to check Scherzer again after striking out Alec Bohm. Before the strikeout, Scherzer threw a 95 mph fastball that sent Bohm into the dirt.

"I've seen Max a long time, since 2010," Girardi said. "Obviously, he's going to be a Hall of Famer. I've never seen him wipe his head like he was doing tonight, ever. It was suspicious for me. He did it four or five times. It was suspicious. I didn't mean to offend anyone. I just got to do what's right for my club."

Scherzer responded to the inspection by throwing his cap and glove to the ground then started to unbuckle his belt. He then yelled at the Phillies dugout while Girardi yelled back. Scherzer stayed in the game and pitched until the fifth inning. As he left the game, Scherzer stared at the Phillies dugout.

"I wasn't challenging the club," Girardi said. "There was some coaches screaming at me, coaches I know, and it bothered me. I'm not playing games here. I have respect for people over there, I have respect for what Max has done in his career. But again, I've got to do what's right for my team." After the game, Scherzer explained what happened with the at-bat with Bohm.

"If you watch the Bohm at-bat, I almost put a 95 mph fastball in his head because the ball slipped out of my hand," Scherzer said. "The whole night, I was sick of licking my fingers and tasting rosin. I couldn't even get sweat from the back of my head, because it really wasn't a warm night. So the only part that was sweaty on me was actually my hair, so I had to take off my hat to get any kind of moisture on my hand, to try and mix with the rosin. For me, that's the confusing part, because I'm just trying to get a grip of the ball."


MLB recently sent a memo about its crackdown on foreign substances. The memo states: "An opposing manager may request that the umpire inspect the pitcher or a position player only if the manager (or a member of his team) observes behavior on the field consistent with the use of a foreign substance. If a field manager asks the umpires to check the opposing pitcher for foreign substances, the umpires will ask the requestor what is prompting the check and seek information on how they believe the pitcher is applying foreign substances to the baseball. All checks that are prompted by a request from a field manager will take place between at-bats."