By now, you’ve probably already seen the video of Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw going off on Joe Girardi. The Phillies manager had umpires check Max Scherzer for an illegal substance and it was not well received around the league.
Since that happened on Tuesday, there have been questions popping up around the league as to why managers can do that and what the limitations are. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did say on Wednesday that he could see how a team might use that to their advantage.
Getting a pitcher out of rhythm and having him checked mid-inning might be something the league needs to watch out for. But the Dodgers southpaw had a solution of his own when he went off on Girardi on Tuesday night.
You get a guy going in a rhythm. Maybe you’ve got a guy on base. Have him checked … it throws you off. It’s something you’re not used to. Maybe they lose a challenge or maybe if they have a challenge they can’t do it. I don’t know. But I think there should be some repercussions for managers just doing it on a whim like that – because if you call somebody out – anybody, but somebody of Max Scherzer’s caliber – and you don’t find anything, I think that looks pretty bad on the manager’s part.
The simple solution would be to completely limit the checks to umpire discretion. But as Rob Manfred pointed out in an interview with the Athletic this week, managers have always had the ability to ask umpires to check. The Dodgers have not run into this issue yet, but it could happen at any time.
Managers losing a challenge would certainly be reason enough to avoid the check unless absolutely necessary. The Dodgers skipper said himself on Wednesday that he would not as for a check unless he was 100 percent sure something was being used.
Whatever the league decides to do, one thing is for sure: this rule is not popular.