Pinhead Pinetargate https://t.co/0HCW0HdOVf— Steve Silva (@stevesilva) April 11, 2014
Was Michael Pineda playing it straight tonight?
With Daniel Nava up in the top of the fourth inning with the Red Sox-Yankees game scoreless in Yankee Stadium, the NESN broadcasting team of Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy started up on the topic of the glossy brown substance on New York starter Michael Pineda's pitching hand as seen in the Vine above (The Vine changed Pineda to Pinhead before sending... you can try it at home).
"There's that substance, that absolutely looks like pine tar," Orsillo said.
"Yeah, that's not legal," Remy followed.
Later in the at-bat, NESN focused on Pineda's right hand again. "My lord, there's a lot of gunk on there," Remy said. Orsillo agreed.
?A lot of pitchers will tell you they do a lot of different things, but it's not usually as obvious as that," Orsillo would add.
?Now why don't you run down and tell John Farrell about that?" Remy joked back.
Orsillo then played along saying he would call down to the Red Sox manager in the dugout to alert him that the guy throwing a no-hitter against his club ?is cheating I think.?
Pineda held the Red Sox hitless into the fifth inning and would leave after six innings, having given up just four hits and one run, a home run by Daniel Nava. Pineda walked two, struck out seven with a devastating sinker.
After the game, Pineda said it was just dirt that was captured by the cameras.
"It's dirt," Pineda said. "Between the innings, I'm sweating too much [on] my hand, I'm putting dirt, I'm grasping the dirt... I'm not using pine tar."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi wouldn't touch the subject after the game.
?There's not much for me to speak on concerning that,? Girardi said.
?I became aware of it in the fourth inning, through the video that some had seen,? Red Sox manager John Farrell said. ?And then when he came back out for the fifth inning, it looked based on where it was told to me it was located, it looked like the palm of his right hand was clean so that's the extent of it."
Farrell was asked if he had notified the umpiring crew of the Pineda concerns.
?By the time I was made aware of it, it was after the fourth,? Farrell said. ?And then it was pretty clear in looking at it closely from the dugout, that his palm was clean... a foreign substance is illegal, but the time I was made aware of it, it wasn't there.?
The umpiring crew reiterated Farrell's comments.
"The Red Sox didn't bring it to our attention, so there's nothing we can do about it," umpire crew chief Brian O'Nora said. "If they bring it to our attention, then you've got to do something."
The conversation on Pineda began when the Red Sox came up in the top of the fourth and NESN showed a close up of Pineda's hand (below) that was shot between innings.
?Jerry what is on the hand of Michael Pineda?? Orsillo asked.
?I don't know but it looks like certainly looked like pine tar," Remy said. "We had a shot of it in between innings and you can see it down around the bottom of the hand, to me that looks like pine tar doesn't it?"
Orsillo asked how pine tar might help a pitcher.
?It certainly helps you get a good grip on the baseball, especially the slider.? Remy said.
In June 2012, Rays reliever Joel Peralta was ejected in a game against the Nationals for having pine tar on his glove. A more famous incident took place in Oct. 2006, when Tigers lefty Kenny Rogers was caught with a brown substance on his pitching hand, across the heel of his palm.
Last May, Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz came under fire after accusations from Toronto broadcasters and former pitchers Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris thought Buchholz was "absolutely" cheating by putting an illegal substance on his fingers to improve his grip on the ball. Buchholz denied the charges and Morris later apologized for his comments.
?To me it was just outrageous how much it was showing,? NESN analyst and former Red Sox hurler Dennis Eckersley said after the game on the Pineda images.
According to rule 8.02(a)(2), (4) and (5), the pitcher shall not:
(2) expectorate on the ball, either hand or his glove;
(4) apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball; [or]
(5) deface the ball in any manner.
What do you think, is Pineda cheating?
Steve Silva can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @stevesilva