NEW YORK — The only thing sloppier than Michael Pineda’s throwing hand Thursday was the Boston Red Sox’s anemic offense.
The Red Sox mustered up just four hits against the Yankees while dropping Thursday’s series opener 4-1 at Yankee Stadium. Most of the questions following Thursday’s contest centered on whether Pineda used a foreign substance to manipulate the baseball — as photos seem to suggest — but the Red Sox were more focused on their own shortcomings. The whole Pineda controversy meant nothing.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said he became aware of the substance on Pineda’s hand — which the pitcher insists was just “dirt” — in the fourth inning and that it was gone by the time the pitcher took the mound in the fifth. Thus, the Red Sox didn’t ask the umpires to intervene.
Several Red Sox players, including David Ortiz, also downplayed the controversy after the game. The consensus within the clubhouse seemed to be that Pineda’s effectiveness didn’t have anything to do with whatever was on his pitching hand.
“Everybody uses pine tar in the league. It’s not a big deal,” Ortiz said.
“I didn’t get to see it but what can I tell you? I don’t know what pine tar does to a baseball,” Ortiz added. “A better grip? Better be careful. I think his velocity and his slider were good tonight. (That’s) all I can tell you. His pitches were good.”
Clay Buchholz suffered the loss Thursday after allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits over six innings. It was a step in the right direction for Buchholz, who surrendered a career-high 13 hits in his first start, and he wasn’t concerned about potentially being outpitched because of some goop on his opponent’s hand. Buchholz, after all, found himself in the middle of a similar controversy last season.
“If you’re scuffing the ball, that’s one thing. But if you’re actually creating more control by throwing it where you want to, that’s the game of baseball,” Buchholz said. “A pitcher is supposed to throw it where they want to, and hitters react and hit it. If it’s giving you any kind of edge, as long as I’ve been around, I’ve never seen any kind of sticky substance give anybody an edge.”
Catchers David Ross and A.J. Pierzynski — two veterans who have been around a while — both said they didn’t notice Pineda using the foreign substance. Ross even seemed to agree with Buchholz that a little pine tar isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“I’m kind of on the fence with that, where I would rather the guy know where the ball is going and have a good grip, for me, personally,” Ross. “As long as I’ve played, there’s guys always trying to make sure they’ve got a grip when there is cold weather early on. Maybe it’s cheating, but I don’t really look at it that way. Some guys might, but not me, personally.”
It appears there’s nothing to see here, even if social media did go bonkers Thursday night.
Photo via Twitter/@nypostsports