Astros starter Mike Fiers no-hit the Dodgers on Friday night, but his achievement was quickly downplayed on social media when an image showing what appeared to be a shiny substance on the inside of the right-hander’s glove. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly never questioned it, nor did anyone else on the team, during the game.
Asked about the alleged substance after the game, Fiers said, “It could be different lighting or something,” as Jose de Jesus Ortiz reports.
Even after the fact, the Dodgers aren’t interested in pursuing the matter. Via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
“I don’t want to take anything away from his night,” outfielder Carl Crawford said.
Manager Don Mattingly also viewed the social media-driven controversy as a non-issue, saying, “I think it sounds like you’re whining if you look at it and talk about it.”
The consensus around the clubhouse was that a significant number of pitchers use something to improve their grip on the ball.
“I think it’s pretty much accepted, unless it’s blatantly obvious somebody’s doing it,” Mattingly said.
Fiers donated his cap and one of the balls he threw during the no-hitter to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Those and other items were authenticated, as Astros manager of authentication Mike Acosta tweeted on Friday night.
Yankees starter Michael Pineda was suspended for 10 games last season when he was caught using a “foreign substance” on his neck.
Former major league catcher John Baker, when asked to cite the percentage of pitchers who liked using a foreign substance, said, “100%.”
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.