Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was on the receiving end of some jeers from Indians fans at Progressive Field during Tuesday night’s game against the Indians. He responded by flipping them the double bird after homering in the top of the second inning. Chad Moriyama of Dodgers Digest captured a still from the broadcast of Tuesday’s game:
Speaking to the media after the game, Puig said he was indeed being heckled. He added, “I reacted that way. I stooped to their level,” Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. Puig said he’ll pay a fine if commissioner Rob Manfred deems it necessary. His teammates found it hilarious, McCullough added.
Puig also singled in a 2-for-4 performance in the Dodgers’ 7-5 win. He is now hitting .239/.313/.418 with 10 home runs, 33 RBI, and 29 runs scored in 240 plate appearances.
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.