We have controversy! And who doesn’t love controversy? After last night’s game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds, John Smoltz complained that he couldn’t get a good grip on any of the balls. His grip was so bad, he walked five batters in the second and third innings alone.
His counterpart, Reds’ pitcher Bronson Arroyo, had no issues with his grip on the balls. A feat that John Smoltz gave Arroyo credit for after the game. Cardinals’ pitching coach Dave Duncan on the other hand, only gave Arroyo credit for his slick use of pine tar.
Duncan, who said the umpires told him the baseballs indeed were rubbed up, said Arroyo was able to deal with the issue because “I’m sure he had pine tar on his cap. He didn’t have any problem getting a grip. Balls like that can generate a lot more movement than a slick ball that hasn’t been rubbed up.”
Asked if he had seen Arroyo go to his cap, Duncan said, “Just every pitch.”
Well, Bronson. How are you gonna explain that?
“The reason he’s saying that is because I’ve been using this hat all season,” Arroyo said. “That’s what happens from playing games in every other park, where there is so much mud on the balls. That black stuff comes off on my fingers every day.” Arroyo produced the game cap from his locker and the bill was stained black.
“The funny thing is I normally switch out hats. I have two hats,” Arroyo said. “The other one is a lot cleaner. It’s starting to build up a little bit. I didn’t switch hats because it wasn’t hot enough to be really soaked and wet like in the summertime.”
Of course. The old “I’ve been using this cap all season” excuse. Dave Duncan aint buying it.
Since we’re already here, we’ll let Dusty Baker add his two cents.
“If anybody should know, it would be Duncan,” Baker responded. “I remember they had Julian Tavarez over there. They threw his hat out, remember that? His hat was all messed up. They also had a left-hander, Steve Kline. It’s not like it’s something new.”
As usual, thanks for nothing, Dusty.
Duncan says pine tar gave Reds the upper hand (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Arroyo denies pine tar accusation (MLB.com)