Aaron Hicks
Getty Images

DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Hicks make history in London Series

8 Comments

It’s a historic weekend for the Yankees and Red Sox, who became the first teams to stage any kind of official MLB contest on European soil when they kicked off the first game of their London Series at London Stadium on Saturday.

Neither team disappointed in the first inning; on the contrary, they combined for a staggering 12 runs, earning their place as the first clubs to score 6+ runs apiece in the first inning since the Blue Jays and Athletics faced off in 1989 (h/t Elias Sports).

DJ LeMahieu was the first to strike. He pounced on an 0-1 fastball from Rick Porcello at the top of the first inning, returning it to right field for a leadoff single and inking his name in the history books as the first MLB player to record a hit of any variety in Europe. The Yankees continued to build on that early momentum with three back-to-back-to-back doubles from Luke Voit, Didi Gregorius, and Edwin Encarnación. Aaron Hicks capped the six-run spread with a two-RBI, 385-foot home run, also the first of its kind by any MLB player in Europe.

The Red Sox did their best to catch up in the bottom of the inning, banking on a Rafael Devers RBI double, Christian Vázquez sac fly, Brock Holt RBI single, and Michael Chavis three-run homer to tie their division rivals’ impressive mark. It wasn’t quite enough to take the lead, however, and with another two-run shot from Brett Gardner — this one off of a Steven Wright curveball — the Yankees managed to reclaim their advantage in the third inning.

They currently lead the Red Sox 8-6 in the fourth.

Rob Manfred calls Astros sign-stealing investigation “most thorough” MLB investigation ever

Associated Press
1 Comment

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.