Phillies Manager Joe Girardi Maintains That Max Scherzer Used Illegal Substance

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Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi is not backing down when it comes to Washington Nationals ace pitcher Max Scherzer.

Last week, Girardi felt that Scherzer was using some type of illegal substance on baseballs. Umpires did three searches of Scherzer, and he was ruled clean despite what Girardi thought.

“I’ve seen Max a long time,” Girardi said after the game.

“Since 2010. Obviously, he’s going to be a Hall of Famer. But I’ve never seen him wipe his head like he was doing tonight, ever. It was suspicious for me. I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I’ve just got to do what’s right for our club.”

The Nationals ace pitcher denied any wrongdoing, stating that he was touching his hair to mix the moisture from his sweat with rosin, which is still allowed by the league.

In the past, both water and rosin have helped Scherzer with his grip.

“I would be a super fool to use something (Tuesday),” Scherzer said.

“You can check whatever you want. Take all my clothes off if you want. I have absolutely nothing on me. … The whole night, I was sick of licking my fingers and tasting rosin all night.”

Girardi told MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that he would go after Scherzer all over again if he had a repeat situation.

“If it’s someone that maybe doesn’t have the pedigree or the experience that Max has, maybe it’s not such a big deal but because it’s Max, I get it. You know, that’s something that I also have to live with, and again, I’m OK with that decision,” Girardi said.

“I said after the game, Max is a Hall-of-Fame pitcher and I have all the respect for him. I mean, this guy’s a bulldog, and he’s been great, and I’ve watched him for 10, 11 years pitch against my teams or on TV. And I’ve never seen him do that.

“So I did something that a lot of people didn’t perceive to be the right thing to do, but I have my bosses that I have to answer to. I care about this game deeply and how it’s going to go forward, and what’s coming into the game.

“I guess, looking back on it, I probably do expect it, and it will probably continue some, but that’s OK. I gotta do what I think is right. And I look at this deeper in a lot of situations, because I do care about our game.

“You know, I can only manage for so long, but I’m gonna watch this game for a long, long time, and I want to be entertained. I want it to be fair on both sides. I lived through the steroids era. I have the numbers to prove I didn’t take steroids. I hit about two-and-a-quarter home runs per year. And I want the game to be something people want to watch, where there’s action and it’s fun to watch.”

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."


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  1. Double down clown. He has to say that as to avoid retaliation against his pitchers, but when you play stupid games you win stupid prizes.

    It wasn’t so much asking he be checked, but that he asked he be checked a 3rd time after he’d already been checked twice. That’s where he looks stupid and his “sticking up for my team” BS doesn’t hold water. Philly is sinking in the standings and he’s looking for a life raft.

  2. That was a bush-league move by Girardi. Pure games-manship. He should have been fined. I watched the game. Girardi was just pissed because his team has underperformed the whole year. Even Kershaw called him out.

  3. Girardi may be doing this as a bit of theater to “draw fire” away from his team. They’ve stunk all year and are probably feeling the wrath of the Philly media. This team was underperforming before Girardi, so you’ve got a roster problem there imo. Hard to fix that mid season. I don’t think Girardi is a bad guy, but he doesn’t play nice either.

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