The Boston Red Sox might want to be very careful if Manny Machado reaches base throughout the rest of the World Series, because there’s a chance the Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop was stealing signs Wednesday night during Game 2 at Fenway Park.
Red Sox pitching coach Dana LeVangie revealed such late Wednesday night after Game 2 during an interview with Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller.
The alleged transgression occurred in the fourth inning of Boston’s 4-2 win, according to LeVangie. After David Freese singled to lead off the inning, Machado singled and advanced to second base when Red Sox starter David Price walked Chris Taylor. Matt Kemp drove in Freese with a sacrifice fly to tie the score 1-1.
It was at that point, LeVangie says, that Machado began relaying signs to the Dodgers’ hitters — first Enrique Hernandez, who struck out after a nine-pitch battle, and then Yasiel Puig, who delivered an RBI single that scored Machado to give Los Angeles a 2-1 lead.
“I wish I would have gone out there before the Puig at-bat, before he came up in that situation, because I saw the whole thing,” LeVangie told Miller.
LeVangie noticed Machado’s mannerisms during Hernandez’s at-bat. Machado, stationed at second base, would go through a series of motions, seemingly signaling to Hernandez what pitch was coming next. Hernandez fouled off three straight offerings with a 3-2 count before Price struck him out with a 93 mph fastball.
“Was it a little exaggerated? Yeah, maybe, but I saw the whole thing,” LeVangie said of Machado’s movements, according to Miller. “I had told (Red Sox manager) Alex (Cora) I wanted to go (to the mound) before the Puig at-bat because I wanted to talk about some things.
“But when a guy gets a big punchout in that situation and a coach comes out to take a visit… I didn’t want to f— with the momentum there because David got a huge strikeout.”
Price couldn’t carry the momentum over to the Puig at-bat, as the polarizing Dodgers outfielder jumped on the first pitch for a go-ahead single. LeVangie then told Price and catcher Christian Vazquez about what had been going on at second base. Price struck out the next batter, Austin Barnes, on three pitches to retire the side and keep Boston’s deficit at one run.
“We had a conversation,” LeVangie told Miller. “I don’t want to get into the depths of it, but I brought up exactly what you’re talking about.
“I let it get in my way — because of the strikeout, I didn’t go out there (earlier). I was so pissed that I didn’t.”
The whole ordeal didn’t mean much when the dust settled, because the Red Sox scored three runs in the fifth inning en route to victory and a 2-0 series lead. But it’s certainly something to watch with the series shifting to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4, and if necessary Game 5.
It also should be noted that LeVangie downplayed Machado’s actions as “clean,” telling Miller: “It’s baseball. If you’re not hiding your stuff with a runner on second base and you’re giving them a free view, that’s on you, the pitcher and the catcher.”
Machado probably didn’t have too many friends in the Red Sox’s clubhouse to begin with based on his history with the organization and his controversial actions this postseason. It’s hard to imagine this will help his cause, even if sign-stealing really isn’t a big deal at the end of the day.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images