Mariners rookie starter Yusei Kikuchi was outstanding under the bright Yankee Stadium lights on Wednesday night. But there was a little catch.
Kikuchi was cruising through the Yankees' lineup, but the YES Network broadcast picked up a substance that appeared to be pine tar underneath the brim of his hat.
So what that the reason why his stuff was electric? The Yankees don't really think so.
"Nobody noticed it, nobody said anything but we got a little bigger worries," Yankees OF Cameron Maybin said. "We're trying to manufacture runs and get guys on base, but I don't think that had anythig to do with it."
Every pitcher uses pine tar but Yusei Kikuchi could not be more obvious about it pic.twitter.com/b6IBNvmEAv- 12up (@12upSport) May 9, 2019
Manager Aaron Boone was also asked about the substance, and he answered nonchalantly with the team needing to look closer at it.
"I was aware of it very late," Boone said. "I heard they were talking about it, so I was made aware of it sometime in the eighth inning there. So I'll take a look at it and we'll kinda see what we make of it."
While these response may be suprising to some fans, they actually are normal these days. When hitters step in the box, players don't mind if pitchers use a substance to get a better grip on the ball if it means they will have better control. Because that better control means the hitter is less likely to get beamed somewhere he doesn't want to.
To that point, Kikuchi may have caked on too much pine tar to the Yankees' liking, as it could be seen on a large portion of the bill. After Boone looks into it more, the Yankees could potentially come out and say something about it.
Until then, they'll worry about the series finale with Mike Leake on the mound for the Mariners on Thursday night.