MVP-vote-getter Ryan Tepera was fantastic down the stretch for the Chicago White Sox after being traded from the other side of town, and threw two perfect innings in last night’s division-saving game for the Sox. He struck out three, and dominated the Astros in the process.
The spiciest part of his night, however, came after the game when discussing the difference between that game, and the two that came in Houston.
“They’re doing something different over there at Minute Maid [Park in Houston],” said Tepera, per NBCSC. “It shows you how many swings and misses they had tonight compared to Minute Maid.”
Tepera was asked to clarify if he was saying what it sounded like he was saying, and, again, per NBCSC: “Yeah. I mean, it is what it is. They’ve obviously had a reputation of doing some sketchy stuff over there. We can say that it’s a little bit of a difference. I think you saw the swings and misses tonight compared to the first two games at Minute Maid.”
Although I love the spicy, and Tepera may know something, I have to point out that the Astros’ whiffs weren’t THAT out of line last night compared to the first two games. A quick review of the numbers over at Statcast shows 22 Astros whiffs last night over 9.0 innings, whereas the first two games were 15 and 17 whiffs over 8.0 innings. More per inning, yes, but not that out of whack. The Astros did strike out much more overall, though, with a whopping 16 last night, compared to 16 total over the first couple games. (Fun fact, the Sox, themselves, whiffed a whopping 29 times last night.)
Again, love the spicy. And I hate what the Astros did. So turning up the heat is all good by me, though I’d love to hear some theories on what the Astros could be doing this time around. More camera-work? Employees out in the stands? In theory, MLB is policing that stuff much more strictly than in the past, but who knows.
Now, Tepera was quick to say that he didn’t want that to be the focus, and it’s still on the White Sox to compete and perform. But, well, you can’t drop that perspective – in the wake of everything the Astros have done in the past – and not have it blow up. The Astros, of course, were using an electronic system to steal and convey signs for years at their home ballpark, including in their 2017 run to a title. It was the biggest scandal in the sport since the PED era, and it should’ve resulted in the team being stripped of its title instead of a few draft picks. To say it would be galling beyond belief if they were using some kind of system to steal signs again would be … yeah, an understatement.