They were always the enemy, but more-so this week and the rest of the baseball season.
The crackdown is beginning as Umpires have been told to investigate pitchers if they suspect them of putting foreign substances on baseballs to get an edge in pitching.
2-weeks ago, MLB issued the decree about rule (3.01), giving-mandating umpires look at pitchers if they find balls in play had been doctored.
Not resin nor sweat nor saliva, but pine-tar, vaseline, any gritty substance.
Gaylord Perry would forever be proud. Anybody using Pennzoil.
In two weeks since the memos came out, comes a major drop in spin rates nearly across the board for some of baseball’s hardest throwers.
In a stunning statistical look, the dropoff in Spin rates of Trevor Bauer (Dodgers)..Gerrit Cole (Yankees)..Shane Beiber (Indians)..Corbin Burnes (Brewers) and Aroldis Chapman (Yankees) has been staggering in just the last two weeks.
So has there been a drop off in the pitching outings of all 5-pitchers, getting shelled, giving up home runs, drops in strikeouts and velocity, increases in hits and runs allowed? Related to the threat of an ump going to the mound and finding something? Guys that were dominating in starts in April-May have not done it the first two weeks in June.
Across baseball, the stats on 4-seam fastballs show pitchers getting hit, batting averages going up in just a 2-week span.
…Spin Rates (2329) April May…(2269) June
…Batting Averages (.236) April May..(.247) June
…Slugging Percentage (.241) April May..(.259) June
In giving Umpires the right to examine any pitcher, any time, we suddenly see offenses perk up, pitching drop down.
Still to be determined will be are the umpires are doing search and seizure (caps-gloves-belts-shirts) or whether they will actually eject the aces of staffs if they find damning evidence.
The last ugly incident with a pitcher was young pitcher Michael Pineda, hit with a massive suspension while with the Yankees for having pine-tar on his neck. He got a 10-game suspension for that. Then an 80-game suspension for an illegal diuretic. He’s never been the dominant pitcher since.
Pitchers hassle with umps about balls-strikes-moving strike zones-erratic calls. Just wait and see what happens next.
Or just maybe, MLB has scared the pitchers straight the last two weeks…after a couple of years of guys loading balls up to get batters out.
Have to ask Bauer-Cole-Beiber and others what’s happening to them right now.
Sales of Vaseline and Pennzoil going to drop?