Nationals GM rips ’embarrassing’ Phillies manager Joe Girardi: ‘He’s a con artist’

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Joe Girardi: Con Man?

Girardi, manager of the 34-36 Phillies, requested the umpires to check Max Scherzer for a third time during Philadelphia’s 3-2 loss on Tuesday, amidst MLB’s new sweeping rules barring pitchers from using foreign substances to improve grip.

The rules are forcing umpires — and managers — into tough situations to check on pitchers, but Nats GM Mike Rizzo isn’t buying Girardi’s explanation that he was concerned starter Max Scherzer had something in his hair on Tuesday night, leading to the Girardi request.

On his weekly radio spot with 106.7 The FAN in D.C., Rizzo didn’t hold back on his disdain for Girardi for last night’s situation:

It’s embarrassing for Girardi, it’s embarrassing for the Phillies, it’s embarrassing for baseball. Yes, he’s playing games. Hey, that’s his right. Gamesmanship. Had nothing to do with substances, had no probable cause to ask for it. The umps shouldn’t have allowed it. But it happened, and you gotta deal with it. This is what we’re gonna have to deal with.

And you think you’re gonna intimidate a Max Scherzer, and that type of thing, and it’s just not gonna happen. You’re just gonna piss him off and make him concentrate that much harder. This was about breaking Max’s rhythm and frustrating him and type of thing, and it didn’t work. Our bullpen pitched great, we got some timely hits and we beat the Phillies. …

That was his goal. He’s a con artist. He got you (the show hosts) in the con. That’s — that’s just the way it is. He’s been doing that for years on TV. 

MORE: What MLB has to do to prevent “bad-faith” substance checks

Rizzo would later say that he “loves” Girardi and has known him a long time, so maybe he knows him “too well.”

Girardi got word of Rizzo’s inflammatory comments and responded on Wednesday afternoon:

“I don’t have a problem with it,” Girardi said. “Obviously, he’s going to protect his club. He’s entitled to his own opinion, but so am I. That’s the bottom line. That’s America, right?”

Girardi was ejected for coming out of the dugout and confronting some Nationals coaches who were yelling across the diamond. Washington and Scherzer emerged the 3-2 victors in the NL East matchup.

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