CHICAGO – White Sox reliever Ryan Tepera implied that Houston may have been stealing signs in Games 1 and 2 of their AL Division Series after Chicago won the third game Sunday night.
Houston was going for a sweep after it rolled to a pair of impressive victories at home. But it struck out 16 times in a 12-6 loss at Chicago after it struck out a total of 16 times in the first two games. The AL West champions went down in order in each of the last five innings.
Tepera, who worked two perfect innings, noted the difference between the Astros at home and on the road.
“Yeah. It is what it is. They’ve obviously had a reputation of doing some sketchy stuff over there," he said. "It’s just, we can say that it’s a little bit of a difference. I think you saw the swings and misses tonight compared to, you know, the first two games at Minute Maid. But that’s not really the story, you know? We come here to play. We’re going to compete. We’re not going to worry about what they’re going to do.
“All we have to do is execute pitches and they can't hit them anyways.”
Game 4 of the best-of-five series is scheduled for Monday afternoon in Chicago, but there is rain in the forecast.
The Astros were disciplined by Major League Baseball after it found the team used electronics to steal signs during their run to the 2017 World Series title and again in the 2018 season.
MLB's investigation found Houston used a video feed from a center-field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs during home games. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter’s odds of getting a hit.
Manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired in the fallout, but no players were punished after Commissioner Rob Manfred granted them immunity as part of the league's investigation.
Sign stealing is a legal and time-honored part of baseball as long as it is done with the naked eye — say, by a baserunner standing on second. Using technology is prohibited.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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