Houston Astros

Phillies reliever David Robertson blasts cheating Houston Astros

Phillies reliever David Robertson blasts cheating Houston Astros

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Add David Robertson’s name to the list of pitchers who believe they were victimized by the Houston Astros’ cheating scheme in 2017.

“It’s a disgrace what they’ve done and they’re going to have to live with it and everyone knows,” Robertson said on Wednesday.

Robertson enjoyed a brilliant stretch drive for the New York Yankees in 2017. After being traded from the Chicago White Sox, he pitched in 30 games for the Yankees and allowed just four runs.

In the first two rounds of the playoffs that year, he pitched eight innings and allowed just one run.

His dominance that season ended suddenly in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Astros. He entered with the Yankees down, 3-1, in the bottom of the eighth inning and was torched for four runs while failing to retire any of the four batters he faced. Jose Altuve greeted Robertson with a home run, Carlos Correa doubled, Yuli Gurriel singled and Alex Bregman stroked a two-run double. Houston rolled to a 7-1 win to tie the series and won it the next night. The Astros then beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

Two years later, it was revealed that the Astros used an illicit, technology-based sign-stealing scheme to cheat their way to the championship.

Details of the scheme cleared up a few things in Robertson’s mind.

“I got roughed up in Game 6,” he said. “And I felt like in that game I threw as well as I’ve ever thrown in my entire life. I had some pitches that got hit that I was a little shocked by and some pitches that didn’t get swung at that I was a little shocked by. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about what we know now. But it all comes together now and, you know, I’m upset about it, that’s for sure.

“I’m never going to get 2017 back. I can’t say moving forward I’ll never get to pitch in a LCS again, but I’ll never get that season back with that group of guys and that opportunity to win a World Series.

“Like I said, I’m still upset about it. I don’t want to say something I’m going to regret but I’m definitely not happy about it.”

Robertson signed with the Phillies before the 2019 season and is currently working his way back from elbow surgery. He is expected to pitch in the second half of the season.

During his time with the Yankees, Robertson was a teammate of Carlos Beltran. Beltran played in Houston in 2017 and was one of the ringleaders of the cheating scheme. It cost him his job as manager of the New York Mets last month.

Robertson said he was surprised by Beltran’s involvement.

“I always respected him as a player, especially being a veteran player on our team when I got a chance to play with him in New York,” Robertson said. “I enjoyed the way he played and the way he went about his business. He’s got to live with it.”

Robertson was asked whether he believed the Astros’ 2017 title was tainted.

“Tough to say,” he said. “I don’t have all the facts. I don’t know which games and what times, I just know that one game I was in, I was really good and I got roughed up pretty hard. We lost every game down there and we won every game in New York. So … that being said, those are the facts I know.”

Robertson lockers just a few feet away from Francisco Liriano in the Phillies’ spring clubhouse. Liriano joined the 2017 Astros in a late-season trade with Toronto. He has heard the talk about the legitimacy of the World Series ring he won with the Astros.

“To be honest, I didn’t know anything about what was going on,” Liriano said. “So, you know, I don’t have much to say about it. I was in the bullpen. I didn’t see anything going on when I was there. I don’t have much to say about it.

“We had some great players, too. It’s just hard for me to say. Because you don’t want to be the team that was cheating to win the World Series. It’s hard for me to say what my feelings are. It’s hard. It’s hard.”

Robertson has not watched any video of the beating he took in Game 6 of the ALCS.

“I don’t want to relive it,” he said.

“I’m upset about it but I’m not going to let it ruin my life. I’m moving forward and trying to win another World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies.”

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For Joe Girardi’s Phillies, thwarting sign stealers will start in spring training

For Joe Girardi’s Phillies, thwarting sign stealers will start in spring training

CLEARWATER, Fla. — New Phillies manager Joe Girardi doesn’t plan to lay down the law about illicit sign-stealing when he addresses the full-squad team in the coming days.

He doesn’t think he needs to.

“Specifically having a meeting about what’s off limits, no,” he said Tuesday. “I don’t think that is necessary because this is not a club that was doing anything.”

But Girardi will address the matter of sign-stealing throughout camp.

In fact, ...

“I’ve already started addressing how we protect our stuff and our signs,” he said. “I’ve talked to catchers and pitchers about plans that we have in spring training to start incorporating some of that stuff so it’s not foreign when we get to the first day of the season.

“We’re going to do things the right way and we’re going to look for every advantage there is. If a pitcher is tipping, we’re going to use that and make sure our guys aren’t tipping.”

 

In other words, Girardi is all for stealing signs and gathering other intelligence from an opponent as long as it happens organically, between the lines, in the normal rhythm of the game, with the naked eye and not with the aid of technology that can range from cameras to trash cans.

Sign-stealing is one of the biggest issues facing the game as spring training camps open. The Houston Astros were disciplined by the Commissioner’s office for utilizing an illicit, technology-aided sign-stealing scheme during the 2017 season and the Boston Red Sox are still under investigation for potential wrongdoing in 2018. Both of those clubs won the World Series.

Girardi was manager of the New York Yankees club that lost in seven games to Houston in 2017 American League Championship Series. He was let go after 10 seasons as Yankees skipper after that season. Who knows? Maybe Girardi would have survived if the Yankees hadn’t lost that series and someone else would be managing the Phillies right now.
"I don't ever think, 'What if?' " Girardi said last month at the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association banquet. "I’ve always felt that there’s a God above that has a plan for my life. It’s what’s in front of me that I worry about."

While CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka, both pitchers on the 2017 Yankees, have made it clear that they feel they were cheated by the Astros, Girardi has played it down the middle.

“I don’t really think about that, really,” he said. “What has happened has happened. The Dodgers lost to them in the World Series, not us. 

“Sign stealing and all of this has been going on for years and it’s our responsibility to protect them. I know we will work really hard to protect every sign that we have and have different combinations and make pitchers use multiple sequencing so we can protect them. Because a lot of times it’s done by players on the field and you have to be really careful. So, I don’t really think much about it, except what we have to do to protect it.”

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Watch here as Gritty goes full savage mode on the Houston Astros

Watch here as Gritty goes full savage mode on the Houston Astros

Wait, wait ... Gritty did what?

The past few weeks in MLB may go down as some of the craziest the league and fans have ever witnessed.  

And just about everyone has voiced their opinions on the matter ... and now it looks like Gritty has, too.

That's right, everyone's favorite mascot decided to go full savage mode and trade in his infamous drum for a trash can during the Flyers' win over the Penguins on Tuesday.

What was on the trash can, you ask?

Why, it's the Astros' logo on all four sides.

Way to go Gritty, you just broke the sports world once more (don't worry, we love it).

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