Video from Framber Valdez’s start in Game 2 of the World Series showed him rubbing his hands and grabbing at one spot on his glove, but both the pitcher and his catcher denied anything untoward after Houston’s 5-2 victory Saturday night.

“I don’t think anyone should think of it as something wrong,” Valdes said through an interpreter. “I do it outdoors. But these are all my tendencies. I do this throughout the game. Maybe distract the attacker a bit from what I’m doing. Like, maybe watch me rub things and nothing about the pitch I’m about to throw. I’ve been doing that all season.”

The videos caused a stir on social media and prompted speculation that Valdez may have been using the sticky material during his spectacular performance against the Phillies. Catcher Martin Maldonado denied that Valdez used any substances Saturday.

“In the playoffs, they’re always going to try to find [something]”, – said Maldonado. “There are only two teams playing.”

Phillies manager Rob Thomson said his dugout noticed excessive rubbing from Valdez in both Saturday’s start and the start Valdez had against them in the final game of the regular season.

“It’s all about Twitter,” Thomson said Saturday. “The umpires check on these guys after almost every inning, and if something happens in MLB, they’ll take care of it.”

Major League Baseball cracked down on pitchers using sticky substances last season and now tests pitchers’ bare hands between innings for foreign substances.

Valdez passed all three drug tests during Saturday’s game, but still behaved in a way that prompted some speculation. The spin rate on all of his pitches is up at least 56 rpm, but Valdez has also thrown his entire arsenal harder than ever this season.

For example, Valdez’s sinker on Saturday averaged 95.6 mph after 93.9 mph in the regular season. The pitch averaged 2,259 rpm on Saturday, compared to 2,203 during the regular season.

Videos circulating on social media showed Valdez rubbing his palm or a specific spot on his glove during various stops in the game.

“[They’re] just trends that Dominicans do just to stay free,” Valdes said. “Just trends. Of course, the main thing is to win. And we win, obviously, legally. But, yeah, just random trends.”

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Valdes also changed gloves and cleats during his start, but attributed the wardrobe change to Dominican tradition and nothing more.

“I usually have different spikes when I’m warming up and the ones I have coming into the game. Today I decided to start the game with the ones I warmed up for,” Valdes said. I had a long serve there [in the first] and I said, “You know what, I’m going to change everything.”

“I’ll change the gloves, the belt, the boots. And these are just things that we Dominicans do, just some trends here and there. I think at one point I mentioned mechanics, but just things to stay free,” he said.

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