Nationals GM Mike Rizzo unloads on ‘con artist’ Joe Girardi
Max Scherzer was furious after Joe Girardi requested a foreign substance check on him during Tuesday night’s game between the Nationals and Phillies, and Washington general manager Mike Rizzo has made it clear that he has his pitcher’s back.
Girardi requested the foreign substance check on Scherzer mid-inning during the bottom of the fourth. Scherzer was disgusted with the request and responded by partially undressing in front of the umpiring crew to prove he had nothing to hide. During an appearance on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday morning, Rizzo unloaded on Girardi and called the situation “embarrassing.” The GM said he believes Girardi was just trying to throw Scherzer off his game.
Mike Rizzo on Joe Girardi – “He’s a con artist.”
— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) June 23, 2021
Scherzer had allowed just one run prior to the check and was pitching fairly well. The following inning, the right-hander blew a 3-2 fastball by JT Realmuto for an inning-ending strikeout. Scherzer stared down Girardi on his way to the dugout. Girardi responded by verbally challenging Scherzer to a fight, and the manager was ejected. You can see the video here.
Girardi explained after the game that he felt Scherzer’s behavior was “suspicious” and unusual for him. He said he was only doing what was best for his team.
The situation between the Nationals and Phillies illustrated the problems MLB is going to have with foreign substance checks. There’s no way to police whether a manager actually suspects something or is just trying to get inside an opponent’s head.
Scherzer is not the only pitcher who partially undressed during a foreign substance check on Tuesday.