For Casey Mize, it’s all about the optics.
The 2018 No. 1 overall pick got the win as the Detroit Tigers defeated the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday. But after he escaped a first-inning jam, home plate umpire John Tumpane had a conversation with him and catcher Jake Rogers as the battery exited the field.
With Major League Baseball cracking down on pitchers using foreign substances to better their grip on the baseballs — essentially the enforcement of a rule long on the books — Mize said after the game he was worried viewers would think he was being questioned by Tumpane.
That was not the case, though. Mize’s gray color was too “light,” the right-hander said Tumpane told him.
“I thought it was pretty (expletive), pretty (expletive) thing to do,” he said. “I assume everyone thinks that I was using sticky stuff, which I was not. I just thought the timing of it was pretty (expletive), honestly.”
More: White Sox’s Carlos Rodón calls out MLB commissioner Rob Manfred over foreign substance ban
Mize returned for the second inning with teammate Kyle Funkhouser’s glove and gave up three earned runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings (and a career-high 103 pitches). Positive results aside, the Auburn Tigers product remained miffed that the conversation about his glove happened in public.
“The umpires need to get on the same page because I’ve made 12 starts (with the glove) and everybody was fine with it, or John Tumpane just needs to have some feel and let me pitch with the glove that the other team did not complain about,” Mize said. “John’s a good umpire and a very nice guy, just have some feel for the situation. I hate that I’m in a position now where I assume everyone thinks I was using sticky. In reality, that was not the situation at all.”
In 13 starts this season, Mize owns a 3.49 ERA (4.65 FIP) and a 122 ERA+.
Contributing: Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tigers pitcher Casey Mize upset with umpire’s ruling on ‘light’ glove