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#pounditMonday, January 30, 2023

Astros address whether Lance McCullers Jr. was tipping pitches

Lance McCullers delivers a pitch

Oct 7, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. (43) throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning in game one of the 2021 ALDS at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies had so much success against Lance McCullers Jr. in Game 3 of the World Series on Tuesday night that it seemed like they knew which pitches were coming, but the Houston Astros do not believe the right-hander was tipping anything.

A clip that went viral during the Phillies’ 7-0 win appeared to show that McCullers had a significantly different delivery when he was throwing a fastball versus an off-speed pitch. The pitcher insisted the five home runs the Phillies hit off of him had nothing to do with that.

“This has nothing to do with tipping,” McCullers said. “Clearly they had a good game plan against me and they executed better than I did.”

Astros manager Dusty Baker agreed. He said the team looked at McCullers’ delivery and did not notice anything.

Bryce Harper hit a 2-run home run off McCullers in the first inning. When he got to the dugout afterward, he called Alec Bohm over and appeared to share some advice with him (video here). Bohm led off the bottom of the third with a home run.

The Phillies went on to hit three more home runs after that. Even if McCullers was tipping his pitches early on, it seems like he adjusted and stopped doing it. Hitters still managed to have success against him, so he could be right that the Phillies simply formulated a good plan for how to get the best of him and he did not make the proper adjustments.

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