There’s a pitching feud brewing between two young aces on standout American League teams. Houston Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. and Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer got into a brief war of words Tuesday, after Bauer insinuated Astros pitchers were abusing pine tar to get an edge.
Bauer fired off a bunch of tweets Tuesday in which he expressed suspicion over the Astros starters dramatically increasing their spin rates. Bauer did not refer to the team or the substance he thought was being used.
But McCullers read through the lines and responded.
McCullers’ teammate, Alex Bregman also responded to Bauer … and he didn’t hold back much:
You have to do some digging to figure out Bauer is talking about pine tar. His tweet above is responding to Driveline Baseball founder Kyle Boddy. Driveline Baseball is a baseball performance training company. Bauer is one of its clients.
While you can understand why Bauer wouldn’t want to mention pine tar by name, Boddy has no issue putting it out there. He first said he believed the Astros were using pine tar in a mid-April tweet.
According to both Bauer and Boddy, using pine tar can help improve spin rate quite a bit. Bauer says he knows this for a fact — meaning he either has used it during a game, or has practiced with it and noted a difference.
Bauer isn’t actually mad about pitchers using pine tar. He’s upset about Major League Baseball selectively enforcing rules. When Bauer’s drone cut open his finger, Bauer wanted to use surgical glue over the wound. MLB would not allow it due to concerns over Bauer potentially using a doctored ball. If the league ignores pine tar, it shouldn’t have a problem with glue on a wound, according to Bauer.
Are you confused? Exhausted? All of the above? Bauer can be relentless when he’s passionate about a topic, so those are all fair reactions.
Given that both pitchers play for prominent teams, there’s a good chance the Astros and Cleveland will meet in the playoffs. If that happens, we wouldn’t be too upset if McCullers or Bauer brought this conversation back to the surface after moving to the next round.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik
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