Max Fried had an uncharacteristically poor outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS on Thursday. Now the question has arisen if Fried was tipping his pitches during the game.
The Atlanta Braves ace struggled from early on in the potential elimination contest. He allowed home runs to AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor in the second inning and slowly came unraveled from there. Fried ended up allowing five earned runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings pitched. It was his worst outing of the postseason and only the third time all year that Fried had given up five or more earned runs in a start.
Braves radio announcer Ben Ingram mentioned on the air that a Dodgers bat boy was whispering something in the ear of one of the batters in the on-deck circle. Ingram theorized that the Dodgers may have noticed Fried tipping his pitches, as they were consistently getting hard contact off him.
Many on Twitter also openly wondered if Fried was pitch-tipping. Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post noted the tipping possibility with how locked in the Dodgers were on Fried’s stuff but added that all of the pitches they hit were essentially middle or middle-in.
Of course, the Dodgers continued to pour on runs after Fried exited the game. Taylor, in particular, got two more home runs, one off Chris Martin and one off Dylan Lee. Pollock later added his second homer of the contest off Jacob Webb for a total of five Dodger home runs on the day. Thus, this might have just been a long-overdue explosion for a dormant Dodgers offense. But we have seen some instances of pitch-tipping in the postseason before.