Let me preface this by saying that I don’t think Michael Pineda was necessarily cheating last night when he put pine tar on his neck. I’ll stand by my theory from the last time this happened, that he wasn’t using the pine tar to doctor the ball, but rather for grip (we all remember Clay Buchholz saying the same thing, right?). That being said, his ejection, and most likely pending suspension, are definitely deserved. If you missed it, here’s what went down.
Pineda was struggling a bit with location in the first inning, and the Red Sox ended up getting a couple of bloop hits that scored two runs. In the second inning, after getting two quick outs, Pineda was interrupted by Red Sox manager John Farrell‘s request that Pineda be checked for foreign substances. The search yielded a slick of pine tar on Pineda’s neck, and he was tossed. That’s pretty straight forward. While using pine tar for grip is a widely used tactic around the majors, it’s technically illegal. You get caught breaking the rules, you get punished. Boom.
My question is this… How dumb do you have to be to get caught twice, by the same team, doing the same thing? Barely two weeks ago, Pineda was caught by television cameras with pine tar on his wrist, and there was a whole to do after the game. Did he not think anyone, let alone the Red Sox of all people, would be keeping an extra close eye on him? Doesn’t he know how the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry works? The Red Sox know damn well Pineda wasn’t using the pine tar to make him pitch better, but when you can knock the opponent’s starting pitcher in the second inning, you are gonna do it, especially if you’re trying to climb out of last place. It was really foolish of Pineda to use the pine tar last night, knowing last week’s controversy and the fact that they were playing the Sox again. I mean, at least he tried to hide it a little better this time… but come on. (UPDATE: To appease Sox fans, I should note that I have since been shown evidence that Pineda had the pine tar on his hand during his first start in Toronto, and got away with it then too)
Furthermore, how in the world did no one sit Pineda down before the game and tell him not to use pine tar? Maybe Joe Girardi could have taken care of this, but I’m more looking at guys like Derek Jeter and CC Sabathia here. As the team leaders (Sabathia especially since he leads the pitching staff), they really need to be more aware of the dumb things their teammates are doing. Don’t get me wrong, full blame goes to Pineda here, but hopefully those guys will be more on top of Michael next time.
Anyway, the Yankees ended up losing the game 5-1 anyway, but it’s never good to have to use the bullpen for 5.1 innings. I was impressed with the way Matt Thornton, Preston Claiborne and Adam Warren held the Sox down, but David Phelps was pretty bad in this one. It didn’t matter anyway, because John Lackey, the second worst human being in the world (I’ve reviewed my list, and Tampa Bay Rays’ resident rapist Josh Lueke is definitely worse), dominated them in this one.
Let’s hope CC can keep it together on Thursday night, or that the Yankees win 10-9 and take the series.
Featured image courtesy of: Jared Wickerham/Getty
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