A reader thinks Alex Avila is tipping the Tigers’ pitches
Things are pretty bleak for the Tigers these days. They’ve lost first place and their Cy Young pitchers just got rocked in back-to-back games. It’s enough to push some Tigers fans over the edge.Or, maybe it’s enough to make some Tigers fans try to figure out what’s going on themselves. Take HBT reader Bill, who wrote me a few minutes ago with a possible explanation that, while he admits is thin, perhaps imaginary and undoubtedly imbued with some element of trying to cope with tragedy, is at least interesting:
Just something I noticed and started tracking yesterday...
The Tigers recent pitching woes really make me believe that there must be some way they were tipping their pitches. As I watched yesterday’s game against the Royals, I noticed Avila doing something that may or may not be a tell.
He gives the infield position signs, sends the signs to the pitcher and then does one of the following:
- Smacks his glove once, fiddles/tightens it and it’s usually a fastball.
- Smacks his glove twice, fiddles/tightens it and it’s usually a an off-speed pitch.
I started tracking around the second inning and got a 85% success rate at guessing the pitches. It’s probably nothing (and i’m reaching for an explanation for our recent performance) but I have to believe the staff or the catcher is tipping their hand somehow. Avila really was obvious when Phil Coke was in there. He stopped after that inning (for the most part). Compared to Salvador Perez, who never alters his routine, it stuck out some.
He notes that Tigers backup catcher Bryan Holaday has a lower catchers’ ERA when he catches, and that Avila’s has gone way up. He admits that the differences aren’t wildly divergent, however, and I imagine we’d all agree that trying to read something into catchers ERA is fraught with difficulty and may be folly.
Still, fun to think about. And something to watch for. Unless you’re a Tigers fan, of course.