- Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers MLB for ESPN.com.
CHICAGO — Astros manager Dusty Baker pushed back on Chicago White Sox reliever Ryan Tepera’s comments regarding potential sign stealing by Houston, calling them “heavy accusations.”
“They’re about the same runs, OPS and everything as we are — well, actually, better on the road than we are at home,” Baker said Monday afternoon. “And I think they’re actually better at home than they are on the road.
“So I don’t have much response to that other than I was listening to Eric Clapton this morning, and he had a song, ‘Before you accuse me, you need today to look at yourself.’ You know what I mean? That’s all I got to say.”
Tepera implied after Sunday’s 12-6 win by the White Sox in Game 3 of the ALDS that the Astros might be stealing signs when they play at home, though he didn’t indicate if they were doing it legally or not..
“They’ve obviously had a reputation of doing some sketchy stuff over there and we can say that it’s a little bit of a difference,” Tepera said after Game 3 on Sunday night. “I think you saw the swings and misses tonight compared to the first two games at Minute Maid.”
The Astros struck out 16 times in Game 3 in Chicago, their total from the first two games combined. Houston ranked fourth in OPS at home in the American League during the regular season and first on the road; the White Sox were third at home and seventh on the road.
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.
The Astros haven’t been found guilty of anything since.
“Are we aware that there are certain teams out there that are better at relaying signs at second base? Yeah, absolutely,” White Sox reliever Aaron Bummer said Monday. “But does that change anything to say it’s sketchy too much? Maybe. I have no idea.”
Houston catcher Martin Maldonado on Monday posted on Twitter that it’s “always good to get a extra motivation.”
Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, who played for the Astros in 2017, had little to say Monday when asked about Tepera’s comment.
“Whatever works,” Bregman said. “It’s all good. We’re just focused on winning games. That’s it.”
White Sox manager Tony La Russa didn’t provide an opinion on Tepera’s comments, but he approved of his reliever’s right to say whatever he wanted.
“I don’t get into that stuff,” La Russa said. “I just don’t get into it. And I try to realize this is America, and players can say what they want to, and I can say that I don’t want to get into it if I want to. I think that they’re a very good team, and they’re tough to beat. That’s what I think.”
The Astros lead the series 2-1, while Game 4 was postponed due to weather and will be played on Tuesday. Game 5, if necessary, will be played on Wednesday night in Houston. And if that happens, all eyes will be on the Astros once again.
“People can say whatever they want,” Bregman said. “It’s all good.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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