MLB hypes Yankees-Red Sox ratings

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According to a series of tweets from the MLB Public Relations department Tuesday:

– Friday night’s Yankees-Red Sox game on MLB Network was its highest rated game of the year and second highest ever behind Stephen Strasburg’s debut in 2010.

– Saturday’s Yankees-Red Sox game on FOX was the most watched non-prime time MLB broadcast for the network in over three years and averaged 4.1 million viewers.

– Sunday night’s Yankees-Red Sox game was ESPN’s most watched regular-season game in over four years, averaging 4.72 million viewers.

So, the rivalry is alive and well, apparently, even if it looks like both teams are going to cruise into the playoffs this year.  The Red Sox won the second and third games of the series and are now 10-2 against the Bombers this season.  They’re 71-43 overall, giving them the best record in the AL.  The Yankees, a mere 1 1/2 games behind in the AL East at 69-44, have a seven-game lead over the Angels in the wild card.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.