Holy Spit! Marlins hurler shines up the rawhide

Screengrab from MLB.com video of Marlins/Phillies Monday-night game

Jan-Christian Sorensen
Contributing Writer

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz might consider sending Miami Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia a nice mixed bouquet and a heartfelt note of thanks.

Last night, Sanabia — after giving up a home run to Dominic Brown of the Philadelphia Phillies — unfurled an impressive gob of saliva on the ol’ Rawlings and gave it a good rub before continuing to throw.

It was as blatant a spit take as you’ll see in the bigs, and caught dead to rights in all its juicy, repugnant glory in the above screenshot by Fangraphs.com.

Lately, Buchholz has been dogged by rumors that his quick start and miniscule ERA (6-0, 1.78) is a direct result of his doctoring the ball with everything from spit to hair gel to a potent mix of rosin and sunscreen to magic fairy dust.

The furor largely erupted after a sparkling start against the Blue Jays on May 1 in which Buchholz twirled a seven-inning two hitter, striking out eight. After the game, former MLB pitchers and Blue Jays broadcasters Dick Hayhurst and Jack Morris both publicly called out Buchholz, accusing him of tossing a blue-ribbon spitter that would have made Gaylord Perry blush. 

Sox manager John Farrell and Boston catching platoon David Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia — as well as an incensed Dennis Eckersley — quickly jumped to Buchholz’s defense, and Buchholz himself made light of the accusations, but the story quickly took on a life of its own.

When one looks at the video evidence of the game in question, Buchholz never appeared to hawk anything on the ball. It would have to have been the most under-the-radar “magic loogie” since Roger McDowell let loose on Kramer and Newman from behind the bushes on the gravelly road outside Shea Stadium.

Sanabia’s spitter was on full display on Monday in Miami. He didn’t even try to hide it.

Maybe he simply figured, and rightly so, that nobody anywhere was bothering to fritter away their Monday night watching the Marlins — tied for worst record in the league (13-32) with the Houston Astros — so what did it matter?

Hawk it up. Let ‘er fly. Who gives a spit?

For the record, Sanabia is 3-6 on the year with a 4.78 ERA and holding batters to a lofty .313 average against, so if the spitter is part of his portfolio, it certainly doesn’t seem to be putting a shine on his numbers.

So. What say you, Mighty Jack Morris, o sage adjudicator of all things lubricated? The shiny, slippery — and kinda disgusting — ball is in your court.

Twitter: jan_doh