Things were bad for the Yankees in April. All your favorite players got hurt, got swept by the Astros dropping to a paltry 5 – 7 record, and the prize acquisition of the off-season, James Paxton, looked terrible against Houston. As all that went on, the beloved Carlos Beltran offered a solution to the Paxton problem.
After Paxton’s bad April start against the Astros, Bryan Hoch reported Beltran approached him in the team’s dining room area. That was where he told him his 5 runs were a result of tipping. From there he and Beltran studied the tape and just like that, everything was all figured out. Paxton then went on to dominate Boston. Surely Carlos Beltran is a genius to see this?
Let’s hold off on that for now. Things get fishy when you look back on the day this news broke.
Here is an interesting Paxton quote from the New York Post in April. He details how Beltran was able to help him:
So they could see if I was going soft or hard,” James Paxton told reporters. “[Beltran] showed me some video. [He said], ‘Look at these takes, look at these swings. They wouldn’t be making these swings or these takes if they didn’t know what was coming.’ That being said, I also didn’t throw the ball very well. I was over the middle of the plate too much, even when there were guys not on second base. So I need to be better as well.
If that isn’t suspicious enough, here is where it gets even more interesting. When Carlos Beltran was asked about Houston’s tampering earlier this week, he said the Astros were really only able to steal signs when men stood on second. During the game where he said Paxton was tipping though, there were no men on second when any of the runs scored.
Here is Beltran’s quote from this week.
The game of baseball for years, guys have given location and if the catchers get lazy and the pitcher doesn’t cover the signs from second base [then] of course players are going to take advantage,” he added. “I don’t call that cheating. I call that using small details to take advantage. I think baseball is doing a great job adding new technology to make sure the game is even for both teams. It’s easy to blame someone when they win.
Here is every scoring play against Paxton that game:
Run 1: Jose Altuve solo shot
Run 2: Yuli Gurriel hits triple, Carlos Correa scores from 1st
Run 3: Carlos Correa doubles, Michael Brantley scores from 1st
Run 4: Jose Altuve solo shot
Run 5: Carlos Correa two-run home run (Michael Brantley, who was on 1st, was charged to Paxton)
Knowing what we know now isn’t it a fair question to ask how, of all the people to point out Paxton was tipping, it was a former member of the Astros championship team? Doesn’t it get even more suspicious that he happened to say something after they left Houston? Paxton had a bad start against the Orioles before that game but he didn’t say anything. The optics just look bad.
It seemed the Astros benefited most by knowing James Paxton’s 4-seam fastball was coming. Going back to that game on Baseball Savant, I counted that they fouled it off more than 21 times.
Of the five scoring plays, four came off that 4-seam fastball. You take away the fastball from a horse like Paxton, that’s it for him.
José Altuve hits the 101st home run of his career 😉
(via @astros) pic.twitter.com/5gDBHQgRuU
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 11, 2019
My next question is what happened in James Paxton’s playoff start in Houston? They ground him down at home but when he came back to the Bronx, well, it was a different story. We can only guess.
Remember in game two of the ALCS when James Paxton’s fingers were exposed against the Astros and he looked like he was on the brink of disaster every batter but when Chad Green came in, fingers hidden, Houston looked lost? pic.twitter.com/fbPvaxFulN
— Joe (Bronx Pinstripes writer) (@deflategator) November 12, 2019