Jon Lester had one of the best postseason starts of his career Wednesday night, throwing 7-2/3 innings of five-hit, shutout ball in an 8-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. But some are accusing the Boston Red Sox left-hander of cheating to earn his team a 1-0 World Series lead.
Late in Wednesday’s game, Cardinals minor-league pitcher Tyler Melling tweeted a photo of Lester, who appeared to have something in his glove while on the mound. Melling, a High-A prospect who was 3-4 with a 4.93 ERA at Palm Beach this season, suggested that it might be Vaseline, which can be used to doctor baseballs. (He’s since deleted the tweet, but here’s what it said)
Over at Business Insider Cork Gaines took an even closer look at the Lester situation, including a clearer image of Lester’s glove and a GIF of Lester appearing to go to the same area of the glove that Melling called into question.
An Associated Press photo of Lester coming off the mound in the eighth inning seems to show something that isn’t leather in the webbing of Lester’s glove — though it’s not nearly as brightly-colored as it appeared on TV. However, the substance is not readily identifiable and is hardly indisputable evidence that Lester was doctoring the ball.
This isn’t the first time folks have gotten all up in arms about the possibility that a Red Sox pitcher could have been skirting the rules of the game in order to get an edge. Back in May, Clay Buchholz was accused of cheating during a game against the Blue Jays, a charge that he later denied.
We’ll probably never know what — if anything — was inside Lester’s glove during Game 1, and you can just about guarantee that if it was something naughty, it won’t be back for Game 5. And it seems the league isn’t too concerned over it either.
In a statement MLB spokesman Pat Courtney addressed the matter:
Statement from MLB on Lester allegedly using foreign substance: “We cannot draw any conclusions from this video. There were no complaints…