The Houston Astros came out swinging in their 6-1 victory in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, scoring four immediate runs against Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow.
Now several former major league players are speculating that the Rays right-hander was unknowingly giving the opposition a major edge.
Former major leaguers say Glasnow tipped his pitches
Kevin Frandsen, a nine-year veteran known primarily for his defensive versatility, and Trevor Plouffe, who hit 103 home runs over seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins, both immediately suggested that Glasnow was tipping his pitches in posts on social media.
To be clear, the suggestion here is not that Houston was stealing signs. Instead, the feeling is that Astros batters were able to spot some of Glasnow’s tendencies based on prior performances and then exploited them when their research proved valuable.
Two other former major leaguers, Preston Wilson and Danny Graves, also got on board with that theory after witnessing how locked in Houston’s batters seemed to be against Glasnow right from the jump.
Houston opened the game with four straight hits, including a two-run double from MVP candidate Alex Bregman.
When Bregman came around to score later in the inning on a Yuli Gurriel RBI single, he was spotted having an animated conversation with his teammates outside the dugout. That fueled speculation that Bregman may have been sharing some tips on Glasnow’s tendencies.
Plouffe, who began the season with the Philadelphia Phillies, noted a specific outing in spring training where his teammates were able to clearly identify which pitch Glasnow would throw next based on those tendencies.
Frandsen’s point seemed to be that Glasnow made no adjustments to his approach after facing Houston in Game 1 of the series. On that day, Glasnow allowed two runs on four hits over 4⅔ innings.
The speculation surrounding Glasnow comes just days after baseball observers believed Clayton Kershaw was tipping pitches against the Washington Nationals. Kershaw downplayed the likelihood of that following his NLDS Game 2 loss, but did notably allow back-to-back home runs in Game 5 to essentially sink the Dodgers season.
Glasnow did recover to escape the first inning with back-to-back strikeouts, but was ultimately pulled after 2⅔ innings.
Rays manager responds to pitch-tipping speculation
Not surprisingly, Rays manager Kevin Cash was asked about the possibility of Glasnow tipping pitches immediately following Game 5. While Cash didn’t directly dismiss the possibility, he was more focused on giving Astros hitters credit for squaring his starter up.
Only the Astros know for sure how much of their success was just pure good hitting on their part. But with hitters privy to more information than ever before, the possibility they are tipping pitches seems to be something pitchers need to be more aware of moving forward.
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