The Houston Astros will never live their cheating scandal down, and it didn’t take long before they were accused of bending the rules during the 2021 postseason.
The Astros won the first two games of their ALDS series against the Chicago White Sox before losing 12-6 in Game 3 on Sunday. White Sox reliever Ryan Tepera wondered out loud after the game if the Astros could have been stealing signs during the first two games, which were at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
“They’ve had a reputation of doing some sketchy stuff over there. We can say it’s a little bit of a difference,” Tepera said, via Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. “I think you saw the swings and misses tonight compared to the first two games at Minute Maid.”
You can probably guess how the Astros responded. Manager Dusty Baker downplayed the allegations on Monday.
Dusty Baker on Ryan Tepera: "He can say what he wants to say. I had never even heard his name before we played the White Sox. I'm not bothered by it. Most of my life, they've been talking stuff on me anyway. Let them talk."
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) October 11, 2021
Tepera was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the White Sox at the trade deadline this season. He had an ERA of 2.79 in 65 combined appearances with the two teams during the regular season. The right-hander gave up one hit in one inning of work during Game 1 of the NLDS. Tepera did not give up a hit in two innings on Sunday and struck out three Astros hitters.
Alex Bregman echoed his manager’s indifference.
More Bregman: “The mentality for us is execution. It’s baseball. Not anything that’s said or written.” https://t.co/Pr8QwGFq2Q
— Danielle Lerner (@danielle_lerner) October 11, 2021
Astros general manager James Click vehemently denied that the team was cheating in any way during Game 1 and Game 2.
“I can say unequivocally that nothing untoward is going on here,” Click said, via Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle. “If people are going to keep being suspicious of this organization, that’s their prerogative and their priority. Our focus is on winning the series.”
Obviously, this is something the Astros are always going to have to deal with. Major League Baseball determined that they cheated en route to winning a World Series in 2017, so the suspicions will likely never go away. We saw fans and opposing players troll the Astros over their sign-stealing scheme during the season. Tepera’s comments are just the latest chapter of the ongoing saga.