Showalter defends Musgrove check: 'I'm not here to not hurt somebody's feelings'

By Sports Desk October 09, 2022

New York Mets manager Buck Showalter defended his decision to have San Diego Padres' pitcher Joe Musgrove checked for a foreign substance in their 6-0 shutout Wild Card series loss on Sunday.

The Mets bowed out of the preseason after their excellent 101-61 regular season, unable to find any answers to Musgrove, who allowed only one hit across seven innings with five strikeouts.

Musgrove became the first pitcher to go seven scoreless innings and allow one or zero hits in a winner-take-all game as the Padres advanced to the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Showalter desperately, and unsuccessfully, tried to get Musgrove pulled out of the game in the sixth inning when he requested umpires check him for a foreign substance, including inspecting his ears.

"I felt like that was best for us right now. Some pretty obvious reasons why it was necessary," Showalter told reporters.

"I love him as a pitcher, always have. He's too good a pitcher… Without getting into a lot of things, the spin rates and other things [were unusual], I get a lot of information in the dugout. We certainly weren't having much luck the way it was going, that's for sure.

"I'm charged with doing what’s best for the New York Mets. However it might make me look, I’m going to do that every time and live with the consequences.

"I'm not here to not hurt somebody's feelings."

Padres manager Bob Melvin was quick to defend Musgrove's character, with the right-hander jeered at times after the incident.

"Questioning his character to me is the part I have a problem with," Melvin said. "I'm here to tell everybody that Joe Musgrove is above board as any pitcher I know and any player I know and unfortunately that happened to him. The reception he got after that was not warranted."

Musgrove understood Showalter's request, claiming that the Mets were getting "desperate". The pitcher gestured at 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, checking the pitcher.

"I get it, they're on their last leg. They're desperate. They're doing everything they can to get me out of the game at that point. It motivated me a bit. It fired me up."

The win means the Padres are into the NLDS for the second time in the last three seasons, while it ends the Mets' season prematurely having seemed destined to be top seed in the NL East for long periods of the season before being overhauled late by the Atlanta Braves, including a series sweep.

"The sport is so gratifying and so many great things happen," Showalter said. "It's just cruel at times like this because I feel for the players, they put so much 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 blend of good people and good players."

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