All eyes will be on Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz on Monday night when he takes the mound against the Minnesota Twins. Not because Buchholz will be seeking his league-leading seventh win of the season, but because of the accusations against him that he’s been cheating.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that both Major League Baseball and umpires will be watching Buchholz closely against Minnesota to see if he’s using any type of banned substance to gain an advantage.
Buchholz has gotten off to a brilliant start in 2013, currently sitting at 6-0 with a 1.01 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 44.2 innings of work. It was his most recent start against the Toronto Blue Jays, though, that got people talking.
Buchholz picked up his sixth victory off the season after throwing seven innings of two-hit, shutout baseball against the Blue Jays. In the start, he struck out eight batters and walked three. The next day, Toronto broadcaster Jack Morris accused Buchholz of cheating (h/t Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston).
"I found out because the guys on the video camera showed it to me right after the game,” Morris said. “They showed it to me and said, ‘What do you think of this?’ and I said, ‘Well, he’s throwing a spitter. Cause that’s what it is.”
Morris went on to say that Buchholz had something on his foreman that he kept going to. He also said that he went to Boston manager John Farrell about it, but Farrell didn’t think anything of it.
“He’s got rosin on his arm,” said Farrell, visibly annoyed. “He’s not loading up; he’s got rosin on his arm. As soon as someone pitches well or does well, they’re cheating.”
This isn't the first time all season that someone associated with the Blue Jays has gotten annoyed with an opponent succeeding. According to Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News, Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey accused the New York Yankees of stalling in order to warm up a pitcher.
Toronto is 11-21 on the year and currently sits 9.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East. The Blue Jays certainly have a reason to be frustrated, but the repeated accusations are starting to become a little embarrassing.
Even still, Morris got the attention of the league, which may or may not have been his goal when he made the original comments about Buchholz.
Maybe Buchholz is cheating and maybe he isn’t. But we’ll definitely be watching—along with most of the league—to see whether anything is to be made of this situation when he takes the mound against the Twins.