No, the Phillies Didn’t Lose 5-1 to the Shitty Marlins Because Alex Sanabia was Throwing a Spitball

Kyle Scott —  May 21, 2013 — 18 Comments

SpitballThis is going to be a big deal today. It’s already on NBC Hardball Talk, Yahoo!, is being talked about on WIP, and has been tweeted out by 97.5.

Hardball Talk:

Move over Clay Buchholz. Marlins starter Alex Sanabia went old school on Monday, bypassing the sunscreen and rosin and simply hocking a big ol’ loogie on the baseball after giving up a home run to the Phillies’ Domonic Brown.

The rule regarding spitballs, 8.02, says this:

The pitcher shall not –
(a) (1) Bring his pitching hand in contact with his mouth or lips while in the 18 foot circle surrounding the pitching rubber. EXCEPTION: Provided it is agreed to by both managers, the umpire prior to the start of a game played in cold weather, may permit the pitcher to blow on his hand.
PENALTY: For violation of this part of this rule the umpires shall immediately call a ball. However, if the pitch is made and a batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a hit batsman or otherwise, and no other runner is put out before advancing at least one base, the play shall proceed without reference to the violation. Repeated offenders shall be subject to a fine by the league president.
(2) expectorate on the ball, either hand or his glove;
(3) rub the ball on his glove, person or clothing;
(4) apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball;
(5) deface the ball in any manner; or
(6) deliver a ball altered in a manner prescribed by Rule 8.02(a)(2) through (5) or what is called the “shine” ball, “spit” ball, “mud” ball or “emery” ball. The pitcher is allowed to rub the ball between his bare hands.

Expectorate means spit.

So Sanabia obviously violated the rule. But only Yahoo!’s Dave Brown attempted to put this in context:

Sanabia’s case is different. In fact, he loaded up the ball so quickly after Brown’s at-bat, and appeared to rub the ball with such force, it’s hard to imagine the ball not being all-but dried by the time he threw his next pitch to Delmon Young. Did he really get any extra drop or action on the ball because of his saliva? He had two strikeouts the rest of the game, if that’s any indication.

Sanabia spit on the ball after Domonic Brown hit a home run for the Phillies’ only run of the game. Brown was still rounding the bases when Sanabia spit, and it was at least 20 seconds before the next pitch, a ball, was thrown– Sanabia spent most of that time rubbing the new baseball down, presumably to get a better grip. In the GIF and on both broadcasts, you could see him angrily rubbing the ball, an act that will eventually make it dry… and grippy (boy ain’t that the truth). While illegal, it certainly doesn’t seem that his intent was to throw a spitter. And, if we’re being honest, Cliff Lee breaks some of these rules every time he goes to his mouth, and blows on his hand.

There are two theories on how, or why, a spitball works: 1) placing a bit of moisture or foreign substance on one side of the ball will cause it to spin in a strange manner and 2) many old-timey players say it’s simply a matter of causing the first and second fingers to slip off the ball before the thumb when releasing the pitch. You could argue that Sanabia was gunning for option 2 with his giant spit, but you can’t argue that him going to his mouth is the reason the Phillies suck. They have been shut out six times this season and, last night, were held hitless by Ryan Webb, A.J. Ramos and Chad Fucking Qualls for the two and two-thirds innings after Sanabia left the game. Sanabia going to his mouth also isn’t the reason why Delmon Young is too fat to field. It’s not the reason why Charlie Manuel has lost his mind. It’s not the reason why Ruben Amaro has no idea how to build a team. It’s not the reason why the $144 million pitcher with a 4.45 ERA and a lackluster strikeout-to-walk ratio is a big baby and storms out of the clubhouse after falling to 1-7.

Kyle Scott

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18 responses to No, the Phillies Didn’t Lose 5-1 to the Shitty Marlins Because Alex Sanabia was Throwing a Spitball

  1. I would storm out too. He’s pitched well enough to at least have 4-5 wins, but the offense can’t support him. I thought he was doing a good job at restraining himself after 1-4. 1-7 is inexcusable, and it is completely the offense’s fault

    • Hamels certainly deserves a better fate than 1-7, but his pitching hasn’t exactly been stellar.
      Even after giving up only two runs last night his ERA is still a lofty 4.45.

    • Is he an ace? May 21, 2013 at 8:46 am

      He has pitched half way decent but is keeping the Marlins off the board early too much to ask of your ace. Polonco is their cleanup. Dont give up any runs! Enough about run support. If that is what he is mad about then he really needs to grow a sack becuase the team is not maliciously holding off from scoring because he is on the mound.

      • I’ve had this theory about Cole in the past, like 2 years ago when he got no run support. Not that the team maliciously puts their bats down, but I believe his tempo has an affect on the team. Two years ago, it always seemed as if he took a bit longer between pitches, walking around the mound, rubbing the ball, looking into the stands, taking his position on the rubber, then finally getting the signal. Cliff Lee takes no where near as long as Hamels to get the ball back and get the next pitch going. When I played ball, we had a team rule, the pitcher had to keep a steady tempo, ESPECIALLY in the summer heat (I went to high school in Florida). Not saying this is the offense’s excuse all in all, they still suck, but it doesn’t help when Cole is slowing things down….

  2. Remember, what’s important to Rube is that the Phillies remain in contention every year through July and even into August. With luck, the fans won’t notice that a couple of decaying corpses adorned with 2008 rings are all that’s left of the Phillies “baseball” era and they stand no more chance in particular of winning anything than, say, the Kansas City Royals.

  3. Give me a fucking break, these guys just flat out stink, spitball or no spitball. And Cole should’ve kept the ‘stache.

  4. He can spit on my balls, if you know what i mean! …

  5. Big Balls Chip May 21, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Cole Hamels – the $144 MM man…1-7 with a 4.45 ERA. It’s ok to blame Cole’s offense though. Lest we recognize this same scenario in other sports like, I don’t know – hockey. Sounds like a Bryzgalov situation to me!

    And where’s the post about how Ruben should be fired for that fateful day when he traded Hunter Pence to the SF Giants and he won a World Series?! Sounds like another Ritchie to me!

    Not even trying to be “Type OB” here…it’s just humorous to me the pass the Phillies get. Should have won 2-3 World Series and got 1 (with arguably their worst team in the last 5 years on paper).

    • Yes because Hunter Pence was drafted by the Phillies, an all star calibir player for the Phillies for years, and the captain/leader of the Phillies when the Phillies went to the World Series. Oh wait, none of that happened. Stifle yourself looser.

  6. Oh the Humanity May 21, 2013 at 9:16 am

    On the bright side. Dom Brown is looking like a half decent baseball player. We should be able to restock the pantry selling some great, albeit old role players that could really help a contender. A little selling before the deadline could do a lot of good for the future. Halladay, ruiz, howard all hurt. time is up.

  7. Dr StinkyNuts May 21, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Listen, the Red Wings are playing the Blackhawks. In the playoffs. If you watched the Phillies play the Marlins instead, you are not a sports fan but rather a delusional imbecile who probably picked them to win 90 games this year. Get with the program.

  8. And the news only gets better! Tonight the Phils face 20 year old Jose Fernandez, who the Phillies haven’t been able to touch in his previous two starts. Perhaps our only hope is if Ricky Ricardo brought some of those Cuban pastries along with him on the road trip and he can fatten the kid up with those before the game.

  9. Fire raj

  10. Ruin Tomorrow Jr May 21, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I have no idea what I am doing, guys help!!!

  11. The Phils are losing because they are an aging declining team saddled with bad contracts with few, if any notable prospects.

    I don’t know why this is surprising.

  12. ThePhillyFlash May 21, 2013 at 10:31 am

    The irony here is that Sanabia didn’t need to cheat last night, if that was what he did, and I suspect it was. Alll season long, the pathetic Phillies bats have made unknown kids from outposts like Miami and Cleveland look like Hall of Famers, and last night was no different. Ditto for tonight when they face Jose Fernandez who’ll carve them up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Again. If Dennis Green watched this train wreck, he’d say we are who we thought we were, a third place team struggling to keep their heads above water. This kennel of a team is getting harder to watch all the time.

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