Mike Fiers threw the 11th no-hitter in Houston Astros franchise history on Friday night, the first no-hitter of his career and also his first complete game. The performance handed the Los Angeles Dodgers a third consecutive loss and tied them with the Philadelphia Phillies for Major-League lead lead in number of times being no-hit — 18.
Given the Dodgers’ $300 million payroll, the jokes and criticism seemingly wrote themselves in the immediate aftermath of the loss. However, as Fiers celebrated with his teammates on the field at Minute Maid Park, social media was buzzing over suspicion the right-hander had pine tar on his glove, which would’ve aided pitch control.
Screenshots captured by Ryan Walton of the Valley Bay News show a portion of Fiers’ glove with some shine to it and the 30 year old grabbing at that area after delivering a pitch:
According to J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News, Fiers believes lighting may have been the cause for his glove appearing to have a substance on it:
I mean you can try to pick out a lot of things through a lot of games,” Fiers said. “I don’t know what they are talking about. It could be a different lighting or camera angle or a lot of things. I don’t know.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly didn’t take much issue with the possibility of pine tar being present on Fiers’ glove and said pointing it out could be perceived as whining:
I think it’s pretty much accepted unless it’s blatantly obvious that somebody’s doing” something illegal, he added. “I think it sounds like you’re whining if you look at it, talk about it.”
After discussing the no-hitter in the aftermath of their loss, the Dodgers weren’t interested in addressing the pine tar speculation on Saturday, according to ESPN’s Mark Saxon:
#Dodgers hitters seem pretty united in not wanting to talk about pine tar
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) August 22, 2015
One Dodgers player put the blame squarely on the team for not coming up with a hit against Fiers, via Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
#Dodgers players not bothered by images of shiny substance in Fiers' glove. "We just sucked," one player said.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) August 22, 2015
New York Yankees starter Michael Pineda was ejected in the second inning of an April start against the Boston Red Sox last season due to having pine tar on his neck. Red Sox manager John Farrell alerted the home plate umpire, who went out to check Pineda and tossed the right-hander after discovering the foreign substance.
It was the second instance Pineda was suspected of using pine tar in a start against the Red Sox, though Farrell did not point it out the first time around. Pineda eventually served a 10-game suspension for his act.
Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Will Smith was ejected for having rosin and sunscreen on his right forearm during a May game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner field.
Smith admitted to applying the rosin and sunscreen while still in the bullpen and said he forgot to remove it before entering the game. He was suspended for eight games, but eventually had it reduced to six games.