Mets make umpires check Joe Musgrove for sticky substances down four runs, Padres take exception
What’s postseason baseball without a little gamesmanship?
San Diego Padres starter Joe Musgrove brought a no-hitter into the fifth inning against the New York Mets, as he was clearly in a groove in this win-or-go-home wild-card game at Citi Field on Sunday.
But there was talk all over social media about how shiny Musgrove’s ear was, and he kept touching it in between pitches as well.
So, Mets manager Buck Showalter decided to call on umpires to check Musgrove’s ear for a sticky substance that could have been affecting his pitches.
After a thorough check, umpires found nothing wrong, but the Padres made sure to chat over at the Mets’ dugout during this tense situation. Manny Machado was consistently talking to the Mets while the check was going on, and Musgrove even motioned to them after collecting an out.
Once he got out of that sixth inning, he yelled something over to the bench before walking off.
On the outside, it looked like Showalter was just pulling an old manager’s trick to try and knock Musgrove off his rhythm. However, there actually might have been some reasoning behind this move.
Musgrove’s spin rates on his pitches were drastically different compared to his season averages, according to Baseball Savant.
For example, he is averaging 2667 rpm on his fastball compared to 2559 for the year. And that’s shown on the radar gun as he’s averaging 94 mph on his heater compared to 92.9 for the year.
His cutter, slider, curveball, and changeup are all seeing rpm spikes over 100 during this start. Now, adrenaline has a weird way of adding some extra intensity for pitchers, especially in situations like this. And again, the umpires found nothing, so Musgrove is in the clear.
The Padres are currently leading the Mets in this Game 3 that will send the winner to face the Los Angeles Dodgers this week in the National League Division Series.