The Houston Astros are once again under the microscope amid allegations they electronically stole signs from their opponents at Minute Maid Park during the 2017 season.
A camera in center field reportedly captured the signs of opposing catchers. The feed was transmitted to a television in a tunnel near the Astros dugout, where team employees attempted to decode the pitches.
When successful, a loud bang on a trash can relayed to hitters which pitch was coming their way. The Astros carried out this practice throughout the regular season, but it is currently unclear if they electronically stole signs in the postseason — particularly in their 2017 World Series matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Houston, of course, defeated L.A. in seven games en route to their first championship in franchise history. Yu Darvish was tabbed with the loss in the deciding Game 7 after allowing the same amount of runs as outs recorded (five).
The consensus afterward was that Darvish had simply tipped his pitches. The right-hander similarly struggled in his Game 3 outing at Minute Maid Park, though some have since speculated his poor performance ties to Houston’s sign stealing method.
Darvish nevertheless isn’t sure what to think of the latest allegations against the Astros. And with so much uncertainty, he isn’t ruling out the possibility that Houston could have stole signs at Dodger Stadium as well, via Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
“What’s ben reported up to this point is that they used cameras at their home field, so I don’t know if there was anything like that,” Darvish said. “But what they were doing was so high-level that I can’t honestly say there’s no chance they were also doing it on the road.”
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently revealed that the organization was suspicious of the Astros heading into the 2017 World Series, citing their past reputation of stealing signs in unorthodox ways.
Friedman additionally pointed out that an unidentified Dodgers player refuted the notion that Darvish had tipped his pitches, which would certainly give further credibility to the allegations against Houston.
The Dodgers had acquired Darvish at the trade deadline in 2017 with the hope he would prove to be a difference-maker. He pitched well during the postseason before struggling in the World Series.
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