Let the games begin as the Dodgers arrive in Houston to face the Astros.
The circumstances aren’t quite what fans were hoping they would be the first time the Los Angeles Dodgers get a chance to exact revenge against the Houston Astros, but here we are.
The two teams who faced each other in the 2017 World Series that was marred by a cheating scandal are set to play in front of an empty stadium this week.
But Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson wasted no time in throwing shade toward the Astros, who were proven to have used illegal sign-stealing techniques on way to beating the Boys in Blue in seven games to steal a championship in 2017.
As the team arrived in Houston, the Dodgers Instagram account posted a picture of the players getting off the team airplane. Pederson posted an Instagram story of himself stepping onto the tarmac with the caption “Bangggg.”
The Astros infamously used trash cans at Minute Maid Park to tip off their hitters of impending pitch types. The number of bangs corresponded to whether a fastball or breaking ball was coming.
Joc Pederson and the Dodgers still hurt by lost championship.
Upon learning about the Astros cheating scandal in November, several Dodger players have expressed both anger and frustration in thinking back to what could have been.
"“It doesn’t make it any easier, and it just brings those same feelings of getting over something that you worked so hard for as a team, and it was just taken from you is tough,” Pederson told reporters in November. “What are you going to do? It’s over with.”"
The most telling example of the home field advantage created by the Astros in 2017 comes at the expense of Clayton Kershaw. After looking dominant at home in Game 1 of the 2017 World Series, suddenly everything changed when he was forced to pitch in Houston. The future Hall-of-Famer threw 51 sliders and curveballs, and somehow got zero swings and misses. It was because the Astros knew what was coming.
New Astros manager Dusty Baker wasn’t part of the team who cheated; in fact, he was hired to provide a different face of leadership. However, he made some interesting comments over the offseason in essentially saying the Dodgers did too much talking in the offseason about the scandal.
"“Well, I don’t think you say nothing to them,” Baker said on the Starkville podcast with Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville. “They’ve done quite a bit of talking themselves. And nobody is beyond some kind of guilt. Everybody got something that they don’t want somebody to know about. Nobody lives in glass houses.”"
It will be fascinating to see how the team reacts on the field. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has tried to play down the rematch in press conferences leading up to the series.
Due to the unique schedule this season, the Dodgers will face the Astros twice in Houston on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then again in Los Angeles in August. But fans will have to wait until next year (hopefully) to voice their displeasure with the trash-banging cheaters.