The stakes are raised in playoff baseball, so teams will do anything they can to get ahead. But John Farrell won’t go as far as to accuse the Cleveland Indians of cheating.
The Boston Red Sox manager spoke to reporters in Cleveland on Friday, one day after the Indians took Game 1 of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field in a 5-4 win. The key to Cleveland’s victory was a three-homer third inning off Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, which certainly was an aberration for the Cy Young Award candidate.
After the game, catcher Sandy Leon revealed he and Porcello switched up their signs, leaving some to wonder whether the Indians had a bead on what Porcello was throwing. Yet Farrell denied any nefarious activity on Cleveland’s part when asked about that rumor Friday.
“Those pitches were mislocated pitches,” Farrell said. “They’re good hitters. We made pitches up in the strike zone and paid for it, particularly on a night that the ball carried, as it was (Thursday) night. But I think inside any game, if you don’t have the ability to change signs, you’re probably a step or two behind.
“So, there’s no accusation of any kind. It’s a matter of us going out and executing more consistently.”
Farrell didn’t deny that Porcello and Leon switched things up, and that’s as good an indication as any the Indians might have been onto the right-hander. If so, it certainly showed in that inning, when Roberto Perez, Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor each hit solo shots to put Indians up 4-2.
But you can’t blame Cleveland for trying to gain an edge, and the fault still lands on Porcello, who gave up four or more runs in an outing for the first time since July 24.
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images