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17 Nov 2018, Edition - 1222, Saturday

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Sports

MLB looks into allegations Houston Astros have cheated during playoffs

The Guardian

A person familiar with the situation says the Cleveland Indians have filed a complaint with Major League Baseball about a man associated with the Houston Astros attempting to film in their dugout during Game 3 of the AL Division Series. MLB also says it is aware of a report by Metro Boston that a man claiming to be an Astros employee was removed from an area near the Boston Red Sox dugout during the AL Championship Series opener at Fenway Park last weekend.

During Houston’s series-clinching win last week at Progressive Field in Cleveland, a man with a cellphone standing by the photographer’s pit was removed “several times” by security personnel. The man’s credential was requested by Houston, a source told the Associated Press. MLB said in a statement Tuesday night the matter “will be handled internally.”

The Metro report said a man was removed during the third inning of Game 1 on Saturday night but allowed to stay in the ballpark after another Astros staffer intervened. The report said the man had a small camera and was texting frequently, but did not have a media credential.

Houston manager AJ Hinch and Red Sox manager Alex Cora both said after Boston’s 8-2 win on Tuesday night in Houston they had heard about the alleged incident.

“I’m aware of something going on, but I haven’t been briefed,” Hinch said. “I’m worried about the game.” Cora said he has been concerned throughout the season about Red Sox signs being stolen. “So I mean we do a good job changing sequences and paying attention to details. And we don’t get caught up on the whole paranoia thing of the signs,” he said. “We try to slow it down. If we feel there’s something going on we switch the signs.”

When asked if he felt like anything was going on the first two ALCS games at Fenway Park, Cora responded, “No, I don’t.”

This isn’t the first time the Astros have been accused of cheating. Earlier this season, Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer intimated on Twitter that Houston’s pitchers may have been using banned substances to improve the spin on their pitches. Bauer didn’t provide any specifics but his insinuations triggered a social-media storm, which included responses from several Astros players, including pitchers Lance McCullers Jr and Collin McHugh.

The Indians were routed 11-3 in Game 3 and eliminated in the first round for the second year in a row. The AL Central champions batted just .144 as a team and some of the club’s top hitters, including All-Star second baseman Jose Ramirez, had brutal series. Ramirez went hitless in 11 at-bats.

Following the game, center fielder Jason Kipnis was critical of his team’s performance and said he felt the Indians were overmatched. “We were just outplayed,” Kipnis said. “I wish it weren’t that simple. It just seems from top to bottom we were out-scouted, out-pitched, out-coached a little bit. They really did just a fantastic job over there of being ready and prepared before the series. I don’t think we were underprepared, they just went out and executed and played the way you need to play to win.”

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