Ryan Tepera was happy to be in Chicago for Game 3 of the ALDS on Sunday night. He thinks the White Sox will get an honest couple of games there against the Astros.
The right-hander wasn’t very subtle in suggesting that the Astros might still be stealing signs four years after the team put a camera in center field in its home park to spy on catchers and relayed the intel to hitters by beating on a garbage can in the dugout. Houston has been accused of cheating in 2018 and 2019, as well.
“The stadium (Guaranteed Rate Field) was rocking. It’s a different game here at our field, you know,” he said. “You play at Minute Maid (Park in Houston) and they’re doing something over there that’s a little different. It shows you how many swings and misses they had tonight compared to at Minute Maid.
“That’s why you have home-field advantage and tomorrow we’ve got another home-field advantage, so we’re ready to go.”
Chicago fans chanted “Cheater” and “F— Altuve” with Houston second baseman Jose Altuve, one of the core players of the Astros’ 2017 World Series championship team, at the plate. The Sox, fueled by the intensity, avoided a three-game sweep with a 12-6 win. They’ll look to stay alive Monday in Game 4.
As for Tepera’s claim about swing-and-miss totals, there was a difference. According to Baseball Savant, the six Chicago pitchers in Game 3 induced more whiffs and a greater percentage than the Sox staff produced in Games 1 and 2.
|Game||HOU swings||HOU whiffs||Pct|
But Houston’s production wasn’t much different from the first two games:
|Category||G3||G1&2 (per game)|
And how much did playing from behind the last five innings Sunday (Houston trailed 9-6 after four) change the hitters’ and pitchers’ approaches? Every Astros starter except Kyle Tucker struck out. Houston fanned 16 times total. Tepera recorded three Ks in two perfect innings of relief.
The Astros had the second-fewest strikeouts in the majors during the regular season, just four more than the Blue Jays.
“Yeah. I mean, it is what it is,” Tepera said to a follow-up question, per NBC Sports Chicago. “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.”
As Tepera also said, his suspicions aren’t the story of the series. But they will be remembered. And if the series goes the distance, Game 5 will be in Houston.