Kershaw, Dodgers met with Rob Manfred about Astros cheating
Did the Los Angeles Dodgers have a chance to meet with Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to voice their frustrations about the Astros cheating scandal?
Months after it became public that the Houston Astros had cheated their way to a World Series title in 2017, their clinching victory coming against the Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred reached out to the Dodgers and met with a group of players, including Clayton Kershaw, to discuss the cheating scandal, according to ESPN.
In a marvelous profile on Kershaw by ESPN writer, Wright Thompson, Kershaw revealed that he had a phone call with “a few” other Dodgers to vent their frustrations about the Astros sign-stealing scheme.
Kershaw was one of the players most impacted by the scandal in the 2017 World Series. After pitching lights out in Game 1 of the series, striking out eleven batters over 7 innings of work in Los Angeles, the tables turned in his next start in Houston. The Astros hung six runs on the board, with Kershaw only recording two strikeouts.
According to Brooks Baseball, which tracks pitches uses Pitchf/x data, the Astros only swung and missed at one of Kershaw’s 51 breaking pitches in Game 5. It’s almost as if they knew what was coming! After swinging at 57.1 percent of his sliders in Game 1, Houston hitters only offered at 38.5 percent of sliders in Game 5.
Kershaw uses his slider as his “put away” pitch when ahead in the count. In the 2017 regular season, over thirty percent of sliders he threw in two-strike counts resulted in a strike out, and a whopping 44 percent missed bats in all counts, per Baseball Savant.
The Astros sign-stealing scandal was revealed to the public in an article published by The Athletic in November, after former Houston pitcher, Mike Fiers, blew the whistle on their elaborate scheme to warn hitters of incoming pitch types using trash cans from beyond the home dugout.
Kershaw voiced his frustration with the Astros publicly in the offseason, “It is a little bit interesting that the Astros players haven’t said sorry or meant it or anything like that. Not a whole lot of remorse.” Since that comment some Astros players have issued apologies.
In Spring Training, the Dodgers lefty elaborated on his feelings.
“I’m just thinking about the 12-year-old kid that hears all this stuff,” he said. “And it’s hard to decipher. It’s just a lot of negative, negative, negative, and rightfully so. It’s a lot of stuff that’s going on that shouldn’t have happened.”
The Dodgers, who came within one win of defeating the Astros in the 2017 World Series, and appeared in the final round again the following season against the Red Sox, who are also under investigation for cheating, will look to break their 32-year championship drought whenever baseball is able to begin in 2020.