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#pounditFriday, February 3, 2023

Did James Paxton get pulled early because Astros saw him tipping pitches?

James Paxton

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone was not messing around during Game 2 of the ALCS on Sunday night.

Boone decided to pull starter James Paxton from the game after just 2.1 innings. Paxton gave up a walk, then got a double play and line out in the first. Then in the second, Houston got going. The Astros got a single, walk, and RBI double by Carlos Correa to take a 1-0 lead. Paxton struck out two to strand runners on second and third in the second. Then in the third, George Springer struck out, but Houston got consecutive hits off Paxton to put two on.

Boone pulled Paxton for Chad Green at that point, who got two out to strand the runners. In the fourth, Aaron Judge hit a two-run home run to give the Yankees the lead.

Boone joined FOX’s announcing crew for an in-game interview and explained why he pulled Paxton so quickly.

“We would have loved to have gotten him through (Yordan) Alvarez there, but really felt like with Bregman — fear that game getting away there, felt like (Chad) Green was the guy we wanted in there,” Boone said. “Pax was alright, just a little off with his command, they were making him work pretty hard.”

Was there another explanation for Houston giving Paxton such trouble? There was some speculation that players could see Paxton’s grip/pitches through his glove.

There was some wonder if that’s what Bregman was communicating with a teammate after singling in the second.

There might be some paranoia about the Astros picking up pitchers tipping because they had Tyler Glasnow’s number in Game 5 of the ALDS and Yu Darvish too in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. Is that the explanation for them being on Paxton so well? Possibly.

Give credit to Boone for pulling Paxton before things could get out of hand and letting his bullpen do the work. As he said, between Masahiro Tanaka’s big outing on Saturday night and the day off Monday, he felt he could make the move to his bullpen early in Game 2.

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