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The MLB implemented the “sticky substance ban” on June 21, and since then, many pitchers across baseball have seen drops in spin rate and performance.
San Francisco Giants announcer Dave Flemming thinks this has negatively impacted the Los Angeles Dodgers more than any other team.
Speaking 95.7’s The Game’s “Morning Roast” on Tuesday, Flemming cited the Dodgers’ record against the Giants since the ban (3-7) as evidence for how the Giants have gone toe to toe with Los Angeles.
“I’m not accusing anybody, because they’re not the only ones,” Flemming said. “This isn’t a controversial statement, but the rule change about the sticky substances, that changed the Dodgers team.”
At the time of the ban, the Dodgers had a 6-3 record against the Giants. That version of the Dodgers rotation was also much different, as it included three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and 2020 Cy Young recipient, Trevor Bauer.
Kershaw has been on the injured list since July 7, and Bauer has been on administrative leave since late June stemming from sexual assault allegations against him.
Meanwhile, All-Star hurlers Walker Buehler and Julio Urias have held the fort down for the Dodgers rotation, but Flemming thinks that their fastballs have been compromised since the league wide crackdown.
“They’re still good, still really really good. Walker Buehler can no longer throw a fastball one after another by the Giants,” Flemming said. “Julio Urias can no longer blow the Giants away with pure stuff. It changed those guys, it did. That, to me, changed this season. The Dodgers have been impacted by that more than anybody.”
Flemming’s comments hold some credence, as Buehler’s fastball velocity is down to 95.3MPH, as opposed to 96.8MPH last season. However, Buehler’s fastball spin rate has not seen any notable dip or rise this season, sitting at 2,493 RPMs.
Since the crackdown, Buehler holds a 6-3 record with a 2.24 ERA in 14 starts. In fact, Buehler is second only to teammate Max Scherzer in ERA on the season with 2.31. In six starts against the Giants, Buehler’s ERA balloons to a 3.67.
The Dodgers and Giants do not meet for the rest of the season, but will be battling it out down the stretch for the NL West crown. San Francisco currently holds a two-game lead over Los Angeles.