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JV Tipping His Pitches?

Did Tigers' Justin Verlander tip pitches to Indians? It's possible

George Sipple , Detroit Free Press


CLEVELAND – Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann said the team has moved past thinking the Cleveland Indians were stealing signs Saturday.

McCann said it's on the Tigers to figure out what happened and prevent the Indians and other teams from figuring out what a pitcher is going to throw.

Tigers starter Justin Verlander gave up a career-high nine earned runs in a 13-6 loss to the Indians on Saturday.

“Yesterday he had some of his best stuff he’s had all year and sure didn’t look like it the way they were taking their swings,” McCann said. “He’s had his best slider he’s had all year. His curveball was good. His fastball – shoot some of the fastballs they hit for home runs were 96 miles an hour up in the zone and in. It’s not easy to pull it the way they were pulling it.

“I guess the numbers speak for themselves.”

Told the average exit velocity on the curveball was 93 miles per hour, McCann repeated himself: “I’d say the numbers speak for themselves."

Asked if he thought Verlander could be tipping his pitches, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said: “Could be. Hitters are always trying to find an edge on pitchers and looking for a pitcher tipping is standard operating procedure. I can’t tell if it is or isn’t. Only the Indians can tell you that and they probably won’t.”

Indians manager Terry Francona was asked Sunday about Verlander hinting the Indians may have been stealing signs.

According to Jordan Bastian of, Francona said: “It’s hard for me to respond to that completely. I get your point, but I wasn’t there. Going through a third party, I’m not really sure quite what was said of how it was said. I think in our game it’s probably human nature. I hear our guys, too. You hear all the stories. I heard them all in Boston, how the guys in the bullpen were always giving signs. Once we found that out, we’d line them up out there, and they’d all do different stuff just to aggravate the other teams. I’ve heard about the guy in Toronto up in centerfield for years. … The object of the game is to have your guys know the signs and have the other team not. With all the technology, that can get more difficult, just like a lot of other stuff. But, I can tell you with a fair amount of certainty, I’m just happy when our guys get our signs – and I’m being serious about that.”

Ausmus acknowledged he spent Sunday morning looking over the video with Verlander. “I’m not going to tell you if I found anything,” Ausmus said.

McCann said Sunday morning they have to credit the Indians.

“Maybe we gotta tip our caps,” McCann said. “Who knows?”

The Tigers used multiple signs, even with nobody on base.

“It’s got to be something beyond that,” McCann said. “We’ve kind of exhausted that side of it. Cleveland’s not the only team we do that with. There’s numerous teams that we take extra precautions with our signs. I wouldn’t say it’s anything to do with that.”

If it isn’t sign stealing, than it has to be Verlander tipping pitches.

Asked if he thought he was closer to discovering what happened, McCann said: “Like I said, there could be numerous thing. Probably more of a clubhouse-type thing, something we’re not going to advertise."

Is it an increasing trend to use multiple signs?

“I just say more so it’s covering ourselves to make sure,” McCann said. “You put a guy at ease.”

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