Kansas City Royals fire chief Mike Matheny
New York Mets manager Buck Showalter has defended his decision to have San Diego Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove checked for a foreign substance during their 6-0 Wild Card series loss on Sunday.
The Mets pulled out of the preseason after a stellar 101-61 regular season, unable to find answers for Musgrove, who allowed just one hit in seven innings with five strikeouts.
Musgrove became the first pitcher to go seven scoreless innings and allow one or zero hits in a win-win game as the Padres qualified for the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Showalter desperately and unsuccessfully tried to have Musgrove taken out of the game in the sixth inning when he asked the referees to check him for a foreign substance, including inspecting his ears.
“I felt like that was the best thing for us right now. Pretty obvious reasons why it was needed,” Showalter told reporters.
“I love him as a pitcher, always. He’s too good a pitcher… Without getting into a lot of things, turnover rates and stuff [were unusual], I get a lot of information in the dugout. We certainly weren’t very lucky the way it was going, that’s for sure.
“I’m charged with doing what’s best for the New York Mets. Whatever it may feel like, I’m going to do it every time and live with the consequences.
“I’m not here not to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
Padres manager Bob Melvin was quick to defend Musgrove’s character, with the right-hander occasionally teased after the incident.
“Questioning myself about his character is the part that I struggle with,” Melvin said. “I’m here to tell everyone that Joe Musgrove is over the board like any pitcher I know and any player I know and unfortunately this has happened to him. The reception he has received after that was not justified.”
Musgrove understood Showalter’s request, saying the Mets were getting “desperate.” The pitcher waved to the crowd and the Mets dugout after the sixth inning.
“I figured he was going to do it,” he said. “I’ve seen him do it before, check the launcher.
“I get it, they’re in their last stage. They’re desperate. They’re doing everything they can to get me out of the game at this point. It kind of motivated me. It fired me up. “
The win means the Padres are in the NLDS for the second time in the past three seasons, as it ends the Mets’ season prematurely after looking destined to be the top seed in the NL East for long periods of time. periods of the season before being reviewed late by the Atlanta Braves, including a series sweep.
“The sport is so rewarding and there are so many great things happening,” Showalter said. “It’s just cruel at times like this because I feel for the players, they put so much effort into it.
“We’re such a special group. It’s like I just told them, it’s not always fair. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good mix of good people and good players.”