Michael Pineda dominated the Boston Red Sox last night as the New York Yankees beat their most hated rival by a score of 4-1. The big right-hander went six innings, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
The fifth starter put the team on his back, David Phelps got seven outs for his first save and Dean Anna – a bench player – gave the team a power boost with his first career home run. The big story from this game should have been the Yankees’ depth and the lesser known players who stepped up to get the Yankees a W. Unfortunately, controversy trumps all.
Rather than focus on the players who propelled New York to victory, the big story from the game was how an unknown substance on Pineda’s hand has “tainted” this win for the Yankees. After the game, Pineda reportedly claimed the substance was dirt.
Looking at pictures of his hand, it definitely does not look like dirt (it’s thicker and glossier), but whatever it was truly does not matter. With similar instances in past games, the Red Sox have no right to complain about a substance on a pitcher’s hand/glove. For instance, in Game 1 of the World Series last year, Jon Lester appeared to have something on his glove but nothing came of it.
More importantly, the Red Sox didn’t complain about Pineda last night. Why, then, is this a story? Manager John Farrell reportedly stated after the game that by the time the issue was brought to his attention the substance was gone. Thus, there was no need for him to take any further action.
Furthermore, the players who faced Pineda had no quarrel whatsoever. According to Gordon Edes of ESPN, A.J. Pierzynski was asked about it after the game: “I didn’t see it. I don’t know, he pitched good. That’s it.”
David Ortiz added that even if he did use pine tar he didn’t do anything wrong: “Everybody used pine tar in the league. It’s not a big deal.”
Whether it was dirt or pine tar, Pineda had wiped it off by the fifth inning and continued to pitch as well as he had beforehand. Players didn’t complain and umpires were not required to take any action. It seems as though the only ones who had a real problem with it are the media.