In his last start against the Boston Red Sox on Apr. 10, cameras caught Michael Pineda with what appeared to be pine tar on his right hand. Though the New York Yankees’ starter had washed the substance off by the fifth inning and there were no protests from Boston, the incident drew attention away from Pineda’s solid outing (6.0 IP, ER, 7K, 4H) and started a debate as to whether or not he had cheated.
Red Sox players had no problem whatsoever with Pineda and many went so far as to claim that all pitchers use pine tar in cold weather to get a better grip on the ball. Aside from a meeting with MLB to discuss the incident, Pineda got off scot-free.
Apparently, he thought he could get away with it again. He was wrong. In the second inning of last night’s game – also against the Red Sox – Pineda was ejected in the second inning for, you guessed it, applying a foreign substance the ball.
Pineda is downright stupid for getting caught with pine tar a second time against the Red Sox. After a previous incident against the same team, they’re obviously going to be looking for it. And even though players and coaches understand all pitchers use pine tar to gain a better grip, when you’re that obvious with it, they have no choice but to say something to the umpires.
Pineda let his team down. Ivan Nova likely needs season-ending surgery which means the Yankees are down a starter. That puts more pressure on the other four in the rotation to step up.
C.C. Sabathia is starting tomorrow night. He struggled mightily last year and is yet to regain his ace status. To make matter worse, he has a career 5.47 ERA in Fenway Park. To make matters worse still, the bullpen is now coming off a game in which it threw 6.1 innings. Suffice to say, if things fall apart early for Sabathia tomorrow, Dean Anna may make his second pitching appearance of the season.
If there was one thing to take away from Pineda’s Apr. 10 start, it was that teams do not care if you use pine tar as long as it’s used discreetly.
I’m talking to you now, Pineda. If it’s cold and you’re going to use pine tar, put it on your glove, put it on your hat, put it anywhere that cameras will not catch it. Don’t put a glob of it on the back of your neck that can be seen from space. You’re leading the team with a ridiculous 1.83 ERA. The Yankees need you in the game for longer than 1.2 innings.