Garrett Richards tossed 4+ innings Wednesday night, allowing six runs (four earned) in the Red Sox’ 10-8 win over the Braves to complete the two-game sweep.
But the bigger story was the fact that Garrett Richards threw 64 fastballs, which accounted for 76% of his 84 pitches. Richards threw just his fastballs and sliders, not even throwing his curveball, his specialty pitch which he’s thrown 15.1% of the time and has the highest average spin rate out of anybody in the league.
The 33-year old’s spin rates were also down on both his fastball and slider – His fastball’s spin rate was down 256 RPM to his season average, and his slider’s spin rate was down 266 RPM to his season average.
The obvious reason? Richards wasn’t able to use sunscreen on his hand.
“I think tonight spoke for itself,” Richards said. “I’m not going to get caught up in it all, but I’ll definitely say it’s starting to affect people – people and their careers. I’ll follow the rules but this is the game you’re going to get.”
Richards agrees with Tyler Glasnow’s comments, saying the timing of it was terrible. Glasnow stated that he believes they should’ve made this change in the offseason, to give pitchers time to adjust.
“I can’t think of a worse time, to be honest with you,” Richards said.
Tyler Glasnow’s comments after he got injured from what he believes to be having to gripping the ball too tight went viral. Glasnow went on to say that he thinks the transition in the middle of the season is outrageous, and that he has to grip the ball twice as hard which is going to cause injury for many. Other pitchers as well have come out to say implementing a zero-tolerance policy in the middle of the season is outrageous.
“I think time will tell,” Richards remarked. “I think if you just watch baseball across the league, you’re going to see some interesting things. Be prepared for four hour-long games and some interesting things.”
Richards went on to admit that he’s used sunscreen, also stating that the rosin bag is useless.
“As soon as I get to the field every day I put sunscreen on – well now I can’t do that,” said Richards. “The only thing that’s provided is the rosin bag on the back of the mound – which to be honest with you it’s completely useless. It does nothing. It barely even dries up sweat. It mine as well not be there. I can’t even think how many times over the entire course of my career I’ve gone to the back of the rosin bag. Sometimes I’ve been on mounds that didn’t have a rosin bag. It by itself doesn’t do anything, for anybody. I don’t know anybody that just uses rosin. If we can get a rosin bag that actually works, I think that’s definitely something we should look into. I don’t think anybody is looking for anything over the top. I think we’re just trying to find something that will allow us to throw more strikes and still be able to compete.”
“At the end of the day don’t we want both sides competing?” Richards went on to say. “If one side has to concede and the other side gets all the advantage, then what are we doing here?”
As noted by Masslive.com’s Chris Cotillo, he had hit just one batter in 70.1 innings this season prior to Wednesday.
“I can’t remember a game where I’ve gripped a baseball that hard. I definitely use a loose grip (with sunscreen),” Richards stated. “I even hit two guys. And I don’t hit people.”
Despite not having to comply with the MLB’s rules until Monday, which is when the rule would be in effect for umpires to check, Richards chose to throw without sunscreen on Wednesday.
Richards will face the Rays on Wednesday, and that is when he will be forced to comply with the foreign substance rules. If he doesn’t he will face a suspension.
“I come from a suspension and I know how embarrassing that is and how tough that is, not only on you as a person but on your family, your friends and the people that love you,” Cora said a few days ago. “Ten games, a year, two years, three years, it doesn’t matter. Being suspended is hell and you don’t want to go through that.”
(Photo of Garrett Richards/Jonathan Dwyer/USA TODAY Sports)