Getty Images

Adam Wainwright meant to do that

13 Comments

Last night, in the fourth inning of the Cardinals-Cubs game, starter Adam Wainwright threw a pitch that went about 25 feet, straight into the grass on the first base side of the mound, as if he were spiking it intentionally. It caused everyone who was online during the game to make a bunch of jokes, but it turned out there was a purpose to it.

Wainwright said after the game that he was preparing to throw a fastball but that he noticed catcher Yadier Molina setting up for a curve. Wainwright didn’t want to cross his catcher up and risk an injury, so he just spiked the thing. Watch:

As Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports, the two did change up signs midstream due to runners on base. So, despite the fact that there is probably no active pitcher-catcher combo that has worked together as much as Wainwright and Molina, there was some justification for the confusion.

But it was still pretty hilarious.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.