Phillies: Opposing pitcher ejected due to foreign substance (again)

Jul 4, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Caleb Smith (31) reacts after giving up a solo home run to San Francisco Giants center fielder Austin Slater (13) during the third inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 4, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Caleb Smith (31) reacts after giving up a solo home run to San Francisco Giants center fielder Austin Slater (13) during the third inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Phillies/Diamondbacks game had a pitcher ejection due to foreign substance

Remember when Phillies manager Joe Girardi thought then-Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer was using sticky stuff, had him checked by the umpires, then charged the Nationals dugout and got ejected? Good times.

Scherzer didn’t end up having anything on his cap or elsewhere on his person, but it made for entertaining, dramatic baseball, especially when he basically started stripping on the field. You don’t want to make Mad Max mad.

But on Wednesday, while the Phillies were losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the umpires discovered what they believed to be a foreign substance on DBacks reliever Caleb Smith‘s glove, and ejected him in the eighth inning.

Smith maintains that not only would he never use any kind of sticky stuff, but that if he did, he wouldn’t be “stupid” enough to place it on his glove, one of the most obvious places the umpires check:

"“I’m not stupid. I know the two main things they check is your glove and your hat. If I was using something, and I wasn’t, I wouldn’t put it on my glove or my hat. That’s just ignorant. If they say they find something on it, that’s bull*** because there’s nothing on it. If I was cheating, I’d own up to it.”"

If Smith was using something sticky, it hasn’t exactly been helping his stuff. Over 33 games (13 starts), he has a 5.12 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. In his five-year career, he has a 4.70 ERA over 358 1/3 innings, a 4.95 FIP, and 1.306 WHIP. So, Spider Tack or no Spider Tack, he’s no Cy Young.

Will Caleb Smith get suspended?

Smith is only the second pitcher to get ejected under MLB’s new substance ban; Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago was the first, and he ended up serving the 10-game suspension. Santiago then received a second suspension, 80 games for testing positive for PEDs.

In a weird twist, the same umpiring crew who discovered Santiago was using a foreign substance were the ones who ejected Smith.

So, the Phillies have been involved in two of these ejections now, though the first time, it was the manager, not the pitcher, who was ultimately suspended. None of their pitchers have been found with any kind of ‘sticky stuff,’ though that’s not exactly a surprise, given the caliber of most of their pitching this year.

Smith’s glove is being sent to MLB’s office of the commissioner in New York for further inspection. If any sort of banned substance is discovered, he’ll be the second pitcher to receive a 10-game suspension.

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