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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Umpires inspect Astros C Martin Maldonado’s glove during ALCS

Martin Maldonado glove

The umpires for the ALCS between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros checked the glove of Houston catcher Martin Maldonado on Saturday, potentially for foreign substances.

At the start of the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 1 in Boston, TBS showed umpire crew chief Joe West examining Maldonado’s glove. The announcers said the inspection took place during the middle of the sixth. They did not provide any further details about what initiated the examination, though they speculated the check was for potential foreign substances.

Umpires will often take a look at a player’s equipment after either noticing something, such as a potential foreign substance, or after an opposing team asks them to check.

The Astros have faced numerous accusations this season of using foreign substances. Pitcher Lance McCullers was accused of having a foreign substance on his cleats earlier this year. More notably, Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer suggested the Astros were using a substance to boost their spin rates.

A substance such as pine tar, which can give pitchers a better grip, has been proven to improve spin rates and give pitchers a tighter break on their breaking balls. The use of foreign substances is illegal, but teams don’t often initiate checks on opposing players unless they know every pitcher on their staff is clean.

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