Boston Red Sox

Jun 22, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer (31) has his belt checked after he pitched the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball is officially cracking down on pitchers using foreign substances, and the pitchers are melting down over it.

Yes, it’s getting silly, it’s Draconian, it’s not entirely necessary to go to the lengths that umpires went on Monday. But how can you not be entertained by the circus unfolding with these foot-stomping, pants-dropping pitchers? Anyone who’s not loving the chaos and theatrics is a stick in the mud.

Based on the reaction by A’s reliever Sergio Romo when he was checked for substances, we might be one inspection away from a pitcher straight-up mooning the umpire. Or worse!

Nationals ace Max Scherzer drew a lot of attention for his demonstrative reactions to getting checked, and for his spat with Phillies manager Joe Girardi. It seemed that Girardi was trying to troll or rattle Scherzer by the time the umps inspected him a third time.

Scherzer is legitimately kind of a lunatic when he’s pitching, so it wasn’t surprising that it almost led to he and Girardi going nose-to-nose on the field.

It’s also unsurprising that Scherzer responded on the mound. He earned the win and allowed just one run while striking out eight in five innings. So Girardi’s needling didn’t work. The Nats needled back on Twitter.

The Red Sox, of course, weren’t safe from inspections, either. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez went through his own foreign substance check, but didn’t act out like others. Rodriguez had an up-and-down night, allowing three runs (five earned) in six innings, and departed from the game in a 5-5 tie after allowing a game-tying, three-run homer to the debuting Wander Franco in the fifth.

Boston scored three times in the 11th inning to secure an 8-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in 11 innings, extending their American League East lead to 1.5 games. The Red Sox are a relatively fun team to watch because of their explosive offense.

But easily the more fun part of baseball on Monday night was the reactions to the umpire inspections. The whining over the initial announcement of the crackdown was insufferable, but to see the crackdown play out has made it hilarious. And it’s made baseball more entertaining than it’s been in a while.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.