To hear an observer tell it, the Dodgers shook off an early deficit against the Padres and Seth Lugo in a crucial final game Monday, preventing a split by rallying back from a 5-0 hole to win in a laugher.
To hear Lugo tell it, the Dodgers made quick work of him after falling behind because they had a little ... extra help.
Unfortunately for the troubled Padres hurler, who went as far as to describe the Dodgers' supposed tactics as "bush league," everything he perceived was entirely by the books.
Lugo believes the Dodgers were sneaking peeks at his windup when they reached second base and relaying his tells to the hitter, something that has been done since the invention of baseball, if not earlier. This non-troversy echoes what Jay Jackson and the Blue Jays accused Aaron Judge of back in May -- if the sign is out there for the taking, it can be taken. Always has been. Always will be.
In conclusion ... whether the Dodgers had Lugo's tell or not, the responsibility for cleaning that up always lies on the spiraling pitcher.
Padres' Seth Lugo calls out Dodgers after getting pummeled for tipping his pitches
When asked postgame about what they did or didn't see, the Dodgers were coy and a little goofy. James Outman said Lugo was "kind of hiding it with his glove," something you could only learn by watching, while Mookie Betts laughed off the notion that he'd seen something actionable on a 3-0 pitch.
Padres manager Bob Melvin? He, point blank, said "everybody" does what the Dodgers were accused of.
And he's right! It seems likely Lugo has some cleanup work to do -- or, at least, more likely than the Dodgers being completely innocent after 160+ years of ballplayers picking up tells and using those tricks to their advantage. If the Dodgers saw something, it was their right to say something. And if they got in Lugo's head with their ruthless efficiency, the blame doesn't fall on them.
Hopefully, if these two teams meet in the postseason again, the Dodgers will be able to maintain their regular-season mojo advantage -- which, right now, is statistically significant. And to think ... Lugo was nearly a Dodger. Really makes you think. Think and smile for a very long time.