McCullers

What’s on Tap: Previewing Friday’s Action

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The baseball weekend already began today with an afternoon tilt at Wrigley Field. The Cubs lead the Pirates late. The Cubs lead everyone.

Otherwise, we have the return of Lance McCullers, who  the Astros definitely need to be like the Lance McCullers of 2015 given the state of their pitching. And given that the Red Sox lineup he’s facing tonight is en fuego. We have the worst team in baseball facing off on the road against the defending World Series champs. This being baseball, however, Atlanta could take two of three and all we’d really be able to do is to shrug and go “welp, baseball.” There are two knuckleballers in action tonight, which doesn’t happen too often these days. A pity they aren’t facing one another.

Here are the matchups and times. Have a good weekend, y’all.

Chicago White Sox (Chirs Sale) @ New York Yankees (Luis Severino), 7:05 PM EDT, Yankee Stadium

Cincinnati Reds (Brandon Finnegan) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Jeremy Hellickson), 7:05 PM EDT, Citizens Bank Park

Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander) @ Baltimore Orioles (Chris Tillman), 7:05 PM EDT, Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler) @ Washington Nationals (Gio Gonzalez), 7:05 PM EDT, Nationals Park

Houston Astros (Lance McCullers) @ Boston Red Sox (Steven Wright), 7:10 PM EDT, Fenway Park

Minnesota Twins (Ricky Nolasco) @ Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin), 7:10 PM EDT, Progressive Field

Oakland Athletics (Rich Hill) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi), 7:10 PM EDT, Tropicana Field

Toronto Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey) @ Texas Rangers (Martin Perez), 8:05 PM EDT, Globe Life Park in Arlington

San Diego Padres (Christian Frederich) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Junior Guerra), 8:10 PM EDT, Miller Park

Atlanta Braves (Julio Teheran) @ Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez), 8:15 PM EDT, Kauffman Stadium

New York Mets (Matt Harvey) @ Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray), 8:40 PM EDT, Coors Field

San Francisco Giants (Jeff Samardzija) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Shelby Miller), 9:40 PM EDT, Chase Field

Los Angeles Angels (Nick Tropeano) @ Seattle Mariners (Nathan Karns), 10:10 PM EDT, Safeco Field

St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Ross Stripling), 10:10 PM EDT, Dodger Stadium

Rob Manfred calls Astros sign-stealing investigation ‘most thorough’ MLB investigation ever

Associated Press
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SAN DIEGO — Commissioner Rob Manfred was asked today about the status of the investigation into the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Manfred said “I think that this is probably the most thorough investigation that the Commissioner’s office has ever undertaken.”

I would assume that construction excludes the Mitchell Report, which was undertaken by an outside party, but I guess it’s still quite a claim.

Manfred said that Major League Baseball has interviewed “nearly 60 witnesses” and has reviewed 76,000 e-mails plus a “trove of instant messages.” He said that they are not done, however, and that the review so far has, “caused us to conclude that we have to do some follow-up interviewing.” He said he cannot predict how long the investigation will take, but “it is my hope to conclude the investigation just as promptly as possible.”

Manfred was asked about the sort of discipline he and his office were contemplating but said, “at this point in the investigation it would be wholly inappropriate for me to speculate” about what discipline was in play.

The investigation comes in the wake of the November 12 report in The Athletic about the Astros’ sign-stealing operation, which allegedly involved use of center field video cameras and the relaying of pitch selection to batters. Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers confirmed the scheme to The Athletic and at least three other Astros employees confirmed it as well.

In the wake of that initial report, video and audio emerged which appeared to confirm the sign-stealing and emails from an Astros executive to scouts, asking them to use cameras and/or binoculars in an effort to steal signs have been uncovered. Major League Baseball has vowed serious punishment for Astros executives, coaches and employees who were involved in orchestrating the scheme and to any players or officials who are found to be untruthful with MLB officials in the course of the investigation.

Initially, Major League Baseball said its investigation would be a wide-ranging one, including multiple teams. Soon after that, however, Manfred controversially backtracked on that, saying instead that the probe would focus only on the Astros. Which, to be sure, is the club against whom current allegations have been lodged and whom many around the game suspect to be the worst offenders. As we have noted, however, it’s highly unreasonable to assume that the Astros are alone in perpetrating a sophisticated sign-stealing operation, as their scheme was allegedly imported by a player who learned it while playing elsewhere.

Either way, it sounds like MLB has a lot on its plate with this. When we know something, you’ll know something.