The Los Angeles Angels put runners on second and third with no outs in the second inning Tuesday, but Anthony DeSclafani got two shallow flyballs and a strikeout of Justin Upton to escape the jam. DeSclafani pumped his fist after the nasty slider that ended the inning but he had to wait longer than expected to get fist bumps and high-fives in the dugout.
DeSclafani became the first Giant this season to get checked for a foreign substance by umpires, although not because of any suspicion. Major League Baseball's new ball-doctoring rules went into effect Monday and starting pitchers are supposed to be checked during every game. He was checked again later in his start.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler and his pitchers have insisted for a couple of weeks that a crackdown on foreign substances wouldn't impact them, saying they are not a team that uses them much. Before Tuesday's game, Kapler said a benefit of being off Monday was seeing the new rules in place and watching how umpires and players handled them.
"We got to see the physical checks that umpires made with pitchers and it lined up perfectly with the memos that we've distributed to our players and the conversations that we've been having with our players," Kapler said. "We know what to expect and what to be prepared for and we expect our players to be compliant."
MLB released new guidelines on foreign substances last week. Per the new rules, each starting pitcher will have more than one mandatory check by umpires per game and relievers must be checked either when removed from the game or at the conclusion of the inning during which they enter. Inspections are supposed to generally occur between innings to limit delays. Umpires have been instructed to check hats, gloves and fingertips.
Umpires also may perform random checks during a game if they notice the baseball has a sticky feel to it or if a pitcher is going to his glove, hat, belt or somewhere else to potentially get a foreign substance.
The new guidelines have been the story of the game the past two days, for better or worse. Jacob deGrom was checked after his first dominant inning Monday night against the Braves and Max Scherzer was checked three times in the first four innings Tuesday against the Phillies, including once because opposing manager Joe Girardi requested it. Scherzer was visibly annoyed, and certainly had a right to be. After the inning, Scherzer stared Girardi down and Girardi was ejected when he came out of the dugout to yell at Scherzer, who later called the changes the "Manfred Rules."