Rumors that the Astros were trying to gain some comeuppance through illicit means began to get louder after the Nationals won the National League Championship Series, the Washington Post reported Tuesday, detailing the not-so-subtle secret that Houston had been cheating for years.
According to the report, several Los Angeles Dodgers players reached out to Nationals second baseman Brian Dozier to tell him that Houston was stealing signs. Dozier had been on the Dodgers team that faced the Astros in 2017 – the year when the video scheme was concocted, according to Major League Baseball.
Washington Manager Dave Martinez reportedly spoke to then-Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora about the Astros. Cora was the bench coach for the Astros’ 2017 team and was later named in Commissioner Rob Manfred’s report about the Astros’ sign-stealing. Cora parted with the Red Sox after MLB’s report was released.
Pitcher Tony Sipp, who pitched for the Nationals in the first half of 2019 and with the Astros from 2014 to 2019, also was contacted, according to The Washington Post. Sipp reportedly met with Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer and told him that he should be concerned about the Astros.
Stephen Strasburg, the eventual World Series MVP who helped the Nationals to their first title, acknowledged in Game 6 that he may have been tipping his pitches and started to try to throw the Astros off.
“Started shaking my glove so they didn’t know what I was throwing,” he said after being asked about the changes he made. “Obviously, they look for certain things and I just thank [Pitching Coach Paul Menhart] for giving me the tip.”
Strasburg said he didn’t recognize he was giving his pitches away. “It’s something that has burned me in the past, and they burned me there in the first. It’s just a part of the game. You gotta do your best to stay consistent in your delivery on each pitch.”
No Astros players have been specifically implicated in the sign-stealing scandal. Ex-Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and ex-Astros manager A.J. Hinch both were suspended for a year. Cora left his Red Sox job and Carlos Beltran parted ways with the New York Mets before he got a chance to manage a game.
Beltran and Cora were said to be the engineers of the video scheme.