David Price was tipping his changeup prior to playoff dominance
David Price had to clear a big mental hurdle in order to help the Boston Red Sox win a World Series, but he also made at least one physical change that seemed to help him dominate opposing hitters over his last several playoff appearances.
Price’s first start of the 2018 postseason looked like more of the same for a pitcher whose teams had previously never won a playoff game in which he started. He gave up three earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings of work against the New York Yankees, but that may have been because he was tipping a key pitch.
While there was more talk than ever about sign-stealing from second base during the postseason, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports revealed that the Red Sox discovered Price was tipping his changeup against the Yankees and when he faced the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the ALCS. The first base coach in both games was able to tell when Price was about to throw a changeup, and he would signal the hitter. The Astros tagged Price for four runs over 4 2/3 innings, though Boston was able to win Game 2.
According to Passan, the Red Sox discovered the pitch tipping between Price’s starts in Game 2 and Game 5 of the ALCS and eliminated the tell. Price used his changeup a career-high 39 times in Game 5, and the Astros swung and missed at it 12 times. They did that just once in Game 2.
In total, Price allowed 10 hits and three earned runs over 19 2/3 innings after the pitch-tipping was discovered.
While the Astros were accused of going cheating with some shady antics during the playoffs, there is nothing illegal about sign stealing while on the bases or discovering a tell a pitcher has. While most people thought Price’s struggles were between his ears, it would appear there was a lot more to it than that.