MLB: San Diego Padres at New York Mets
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Mets manager Buck Showalter called for an inspection, and hilarity ensued

With the New York Mets trailing the San Diego Padres 4-0 in the sixth inning of an elimination game, it was clear that the home team needed a spark. Manager Buck Showalter’s idea to provide that spark, however, touched off an internet frenzy.

Prior to the bottom of the inning, Showalter met with the umpires and requested that they inspect Padres starting pitcher Joe Musgrove for foreign substances. Through five innings, Musgrove had allowed just one hit, a single from Pete Alonso in the fourth inning. The umpires then inspected Musgrove at Showalter’s request, paying particular attention to his … ears?

The incident touched off a frenzy of jokes on social media.

While the request from Showalter might have been made to try and throw Musgrove off his game, it did not have the desired impact. The Padres starting pitcher enjoyed another 1-2-3 inning after the substance check, getting a groundout from Eduardo Escobar, a strikeout of Tomas Nido, and a flyout from Brandon Nimmo.

After the punchout of Nido, Musgrove seemed to share a reaction in the direction of Showalter and the Mets’ dugout:

While Musgrove passed the in-game inspection, that did not stop speculation on social media about him potentially using something to stay locked in. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Andrew McCutchen speculated that Musgrove might be using “red hot” to stay in the zone while on the mound:

That’s … certainly one way to stay focused.

Musgrove returned to the bump for the bottom of the seventh, and despite walking the leadoff hitter, Starling Marte, he managed to get through the inning unscathed. He got shortstop Francisco Lindor to ground out to first base, with Marte advancing to second, and then Alonso lined out to right field for the second out of the inning. Second baseman Jeff McNeil then grounded out to first to end the inning.

But not the jokes on social media.