The New York Mets have noticed that the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to know what pitches are coming more often than the average team.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a great offensive team. They lead the National League in batting average and slugging percentage, and lead the majors in on-base percentage. The New York Mets have taken notice and think they have an explanation.
Bench coach Jim Riggleman told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he believes the Dodgers are stealing signs. He does not believe they’re doing anything illegal, such as using video equipment, but rather that they study tendencies and arm angles more effectively than most teams.
“I think they have a system that helps them get some signs and stuff,” Riggleman said. “I don’t think it’s anything illegal, but I think they just do a good job of picking up things. If you do anything in your delivery that’s different, if your sequences are repetitive. We talked about it. Because they are taking some hefty cuts. They are not getting cheated. We made some pretty good pitches that they got. We’ll do better.’’
He noted that they take big swings but rarely miss the ball. Stealing signs is perfectly legal as long as it is done in-game, such as by a coach or player in the dugout. If somebody was in the stands with a radio relaying the signs, that would not be legal.
Pitcher Steven Matz took notice of the Dodgers accurate guesses and made it a focal point of his game plan to change how he pitched Tuesday. He also gave credit to catcher Wilson Ramos for calling a great game.
“I just think they were really aggressive,” Matz said. “Wilson had a great game plan, I don’t think I shook him off one time. I was changing speeds and kind of pitching backwards.’’
The Mets won on Tuesday and almost won on Wednesday until Edwin Diaz imploded. However, manager Mickey Callaway had used him in four of the previous five games, so he was presumably fatigued and should bounce back.
The team noticed that the Dodgers have prepared well, and have seemingly made it a point of emphasis to change how the pitch in the following games. That’s a good sign for a middling team.