After Thursday night’s 16-7 pummelling at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin told the media that the Blue Jays were stealing signs from second base. Martin’s claim was that the Jays were effectively stealing signs starting with the third at bat in the game when Eric Thames was on second after doubling to centre and Jose Bautista was at the plate.”You move your head one way it’s a fastball, you move your head the other way it’s a slider,” said Martin. “It was pretty blatant.”
Martin, then told the media that he didn’t pick up on it enough to change the signs until the fourth inning, when Jose Bautista was on second base.
“It’s just an easier game when you know what’s coming,” Martin said.
Ah, yeah Russell, about that…..
Memo to Russell Martin: Russell, how blatant could it have been if you didn’t pick up on it for more than three innings? And then after you changed the signs, your pitchers gave up another seven runs!
A few things about accused sign stealing, particularly in Bartolo Colon’s first inning as Martin suggest that the sign stealing started right from the get-go.
- The first batter in the inning Yunel Escobar grounded out to third. Eric Thames the second batter in the inning had no one on second base to give him a sign as he hit a double.
- Jose Bautista then walked on five pitches in the third at bat of the inning. What sign did Thames give Bautista from second, the “Don’t swing it’s going to be a ball sign?”
- The fourth batter Adam Lind grounded out to third. So, Thames had two batters come to the plate while he was on second, but neither was able to get a hit. Conclusion? Thames sucks at stealing/giving signs from second. Thankfully for the Blue Jays the ground out moved the two runners. Clearly Thames trying to steal signs from second wasn’t working and now Bautista could get the job done.
- On a 3-2 count with Bautista now on second the fifth batter Aaron Hill singled to centre field. Hill had a strike looking and a strike swinging on the second and third pitches of the at bat, but finally on the sixth pitch of the at bat, Bautista was able to get Hill the sign.
- Edwin Encarnacion was up next. After two throws over to first, Colon threw four straight balls to walk the sixth hitter. Another clear sign that the Blue Jays were stealing signs.
- Travis Snider was up seventh and signed to left-centre on a 1-1 pitch scoring Hill from second and moving Encarnacion to second. The first pitch of that at bat was a strike looking. Snider probably just let that one go to make it look good and not let on that he knew it was coming.
- The number eight hitter J.P. Arenciba was then safe on third basemen Eduardo Nunez’ fielder error. From second the wily veteran Encarnacion obviously gave the old, “hit it to third, the kid can’t play the field” signal on this one. Everyone moved up a base.
- On a 1-2 pitch, the number nine hitter Raja Davis reached on an infield single scoring Encarnacion from third, moving Snider to third and Arenciba to second. NOTE: Infield hits are always clear signs that batter knows what pitch is coming.
- Back to the top of the order Yunel Escobar reached on another infield single on an 0-2 pitch scoring Snider as everyone else moved up. They are pelting Colon now. Martin should have started making a stink about the sign stealing right here. Enough is enough. Two infield singles in a row. How more obvious could it be?
- With the bases loaded and Davis on second, Eric Thames who started off the rally with a one out double with no one on base took a strike looking and then fouled off three consecutive pitches. Davis on second was clearly having problems getting him the signs here. Then Davis finally was able to give Thames the “Don’t swing it’s going to be a ball sign” that Thames himself gave to Bautista earlier in the inning (they had been working on that one during the All-Star break) and Thames took the pitch for a ball. After five pitches Thames clearly had the sign and deposited a ground rule double (his second double of the inning) over the centre field fence.
2/3 of an inning, 42 pitches, 25 for strikes with 6 hits, 8 runs (only 3 earned) two walks and Bartolo Colon was done for the night.
Memo 2 to Russell Martin: This is the Major Leagues. If you don’t want someone to steal your signs from second base, don’t allow a parade of base runners to be continually standing on second base. Also, when the opposing team continually smashes infield singles with runners on base, they clearly have your signs and you need to change them. But when you change the signs, change them to something different than ones than you did here because they scored seven more runs so they apparently had the new ones too. And lastly, Eduardo Nunez may be able to hit, but playing him on the infield is akin to baseball suicide. He’s now made 11 errors in a part time role. The kid can’t catch a cold. Tell your coach!
Clearly the rest over the All-Star break helped Derek Jeter as the refreshed and rejuvenated Yankee Capitan went 1-4 with a walk, a run score and a fielding error.
- MLB Power Rankings at the All Star Break
You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike Cardano on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.
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