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Byrd Tipping Pitches? - updated with video


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#1 ToeKneeArmAss


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Posted 16 August 2008 - 09:09 PM

I've gotten tired of watching Byrd pitch and being able to call every pitch based on his delivery - so I created a little video to illustrate what I'm seeing. Maybe someone who can get a message to him will see this.


EDIT: Guess we don't need the video kicking around any more.

Edited by ToeKneeArmAss, 17 September 2008 - 09:43 PM.


#2 Oil Can's Liver


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Posted 16 August 2008 - 09:41 PM

Posted Image

"I know what you mean man..... Shhh, dont tell anyone."

Edited by Oil Can's Liver, 16 August 2008 - 10:39 PM.


#3 KenTremendous

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 06:09 PM

Maybe this should be retitled: Sox Pitchers Tipping Pitches?

It's possible that Beckett just had a terrible day -- it looked like he had terrible location on his FB -- but the way their hitters were raking (and these are not good hitters) makes me wonder if the Jays have figured something out.

#4 jtn46


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Posted 17 August 2008 - 06:21 PM

Maybe this should be retitled: Sox Pitchers Tipping Pitches?

It's possible that Beckett just had a terrible day -- it looked like he had terrible location on his FB -- but the way their hitters were raking (and these are not good hitters) makes me wonder if the Jays have figured something out.

They were on a ton of offspeed pitches today. Even though McDonald hit a hanger, for a hitter as bad as him to be ready to pull a curve tells you that's exactly what he was looking for. Either their advance scouts picked up patterns on our pitch calling, or they knew what was coming. Tipping pitches is a thought. Stealing signs is a thought...something seemed up.

#5 paulftodd


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Posted 17 August 2008 - 07:22 PM

They were on a ton of offspeed pitches today. Even though McDonald hit a hanger, for a hitter as bad as him to be ready to pull a curve tells you that's exactly what he was looking for. Either their advance scouts picked up patterns on our pitch calling, or they knew what was coming. Tipping pitches is a thought. Stealing signs is a thought...something seemed up.


Maybe Beckett should tip his pitches like Byrd. Seriously, if it is suspected that hitters are knowing whats coming from multiple pitchers, it may be that the catcher (Tek) or someone in the field is tipping inadvertantly. Example, lets say Lowrie (just for example) sees a change up from Buchholz is being called for, and he adjusts his position expecting the ball to be pulled more if contact is made. If this move is picked up the hitter is able to sit on off speed stuff.

But it's interesting, Beckett has performed very well on the road and now has a 6.02 ERA at home. He also has a 5.46 ERA in day starts (3.55 at night). Could be just SSS though.

#6 Jnai


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Posted 17 August 2008 - 08:23 PM

They were on a ton of offspeed pitches today. Even though McDonald hit a hanger, for a hitter as bad as him to be ready to pull a curve tells you that's exactly what he was looking for. Either their advance scouts picked up patterns on our pitch calling, or they knew what was coming. Tipping pitches is a thought. Stealing signs is a thought...something seemed up.


Apologies because I didn't actually see the start (only heard the call on the radio), but by my count, Beckett gave up 4 hits on the fastball and 1 on the cutter, and only 3 other hits total (2 on the curveball and 1 on the changeup). It appears the bigger problem is that he wasn't missing any bats, with only 3 swinging strikes all day.

And, to be honest, most of the pitches that were hit were right over the heart of the plate.

The data:
http://brooksbasebal.....mlb_bosmlb_1/

Edited by Jnai, 17 August 2008 - 08:32 PM.


#7 jtn46


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Posted 17 August 2008 - 10:32 PM

Apologies because I didn't actually see the start (only heard the call on the radio), but by my count, Beckett gave up 4 hits on the fastball and 1 on the cutter, and only 3 other hits total (2 on the curveball and 1 on the changeup). It appears the bigger problem is that he wasn't missing any bats, with only 3 swinging strikes all day.

And, to be honest, most of the pitches that were hit were right over the heart of the plate.

The data:
http://brooksbasebal.....mlb_bosmlb_1/

I didn't just mean Beckett, actually. Rios got a 2-strike curve that was pretty well located from Oki, a little up, but inside, and he opened up his hips and yanked it down the line. Rios also hit an Aardsma slider earlier in the game. Of the 5 hits Oki gave up, 3 were on offspeed pitches. Wells hit a change off Oki, hit a slider off Masterson...

Just seemed like a lot of those hits were coming off offspeed pitches. Like I said, for McDonald to pull a curve up, but away, made me curious.

#8 Bellhorn


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Posted 17 August 2008 - 10:45 PM

I didn't just mean Beckett, actually. Rios got a 2-strike curve that was pretty well located from Oki, a little up, but inside, and he opened up his hips and yanked it down the line. Rios also hit an Aardsma slider earlier in the game. Of the 5 hits Oki gave up, 3 were on offspeed pitches. Wells hit a change off Oki, hit a slider off Masterson...

Just seemed like a lot of those hits were coming off offspeed pitches. Like I said, for McDonald to pull a curve up, but away, made me curious.


It's funny, the pitch-tipping/sign-stealing theories are obviously very speculative explanations for bad pitching performances, but it does seem as if such things have been suspected in intra-division play more than once since the unbalanced schedule went into effect. You may remember that there was a period of time (around '03-'05, IIRC) where the Orioles lineup seemed to go nuts whenever they came to Fenway. I remember hypothesizing (I was a much more naive fan back then, not having discovered SoSH yet :barf: ) that they might have had some kind of sign-stealing mechanism in place from the visiting dugout. I never checked any numbers rigorously, but I remember thinking, just from turning the figures over in my head, that their Fenway run totals over that period were sufficiently anomalous to raise a few red flags against the idea of dismissing it out of hand as a random blip.

#9 KenTremendous

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 01:24 AM

...I remember thinking, just from turning the figures over in my head, that their Fenway run totals over that period were sufficiently anomalous to raise a few red flags against the idea of dismissing it out of hand as a random blip.


That's where I am. I realize this sounds alarmist, and is completely unscientific, but these are not great hitters (23rd in team OPS) and they are now something like 11-2 against the Red Sox over the last 13.

I remember when the DBacks raked Pettitte over the coals in the 2001 WS Game 6, and my Yankee friends were like: "He's tipping his pitches! They know what's coming!" I thought they were insane. Then I read an interview with Mark Grace months later where he said they had indeed discovered a tip from the position of Pettitte's glove, and in essence did know exactly what was coming. Whether that's happening here is anybody's guess, but I think it's more common than the average person would guess.

#10 cannonball 1729

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 01:56 AM

That's where I am. I realize this sounds alarmist, and is completely unscientific, but these are not great hitters (23rd in team OPS) and they are now something like 11-2 against the Red Sox over the last 13.

I remember when the DBacks raked Pettitte over the coals in the 2001 WS Game 6, and my Yankee friends were like: "He's tipping his pitches! They know what's coming!" I thought they were insane. Then I read an interview with Mark Grace months later where he said they had indeed discovered a tip from the position of Pettitte's glove, and in essence did know exactly what was coming. Whether that's happening here is anybody's guess, but I think it's more common than the average person would guess.

Also, Cito Gaston is renowned to be one of the best in the game at picking up when pitchers are tipping pitches. In fact, there was a Boston Globe article linked here a while ago which stated as much. I can't access the whole article, but part of it says:

While leading the Blue Jays to World Series championships in 1992 and 1993, Gaston developed a reputation for being one of the most astute managers in the game at busting pitchers who were tipping their pitches. He happily shared his information with his own players and often received unsolicited information from opponents who, like Gaston, had made a hobby of studying the tendencies of the top hurlers in the game.


IIRC, it goes on to mention that the Jays beat the A's in the '92 playoffs in no small part because they picked up on a timing mechanism Eckersley used only when he threw breaking pitches.

Edit: I found the whole article:

http://findarticles....65/ai_n27002208

Edited by cannonball 1729, 18 August 2008 - 01:58 AM.


#11 cannonball 1729

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 03:00 AM

According to Lurker HrniakPosterChild, "This might be worth a post in the "tipping pitches" thread, as Tek calls out Toronto by name (after a game against Baltimore, of all things)."

He also said that he wasn't sure if Beckett was suspicious, but admitted that sign-stealing is still pervasive.

"There are some teams that are very renowned for doing it in our league," Varitek said. "Toronto is the most renowned for it. And New York. There are different teams throughout the league that are predictable, whether it's location or change of speeds. It's part of the game. But to defend against it, you have to use your coconut on the mound."


Link

Edited by cannonball 1729, 18 August 2008 - 03:04 AM.


#12 ToeKneeArmAss


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Posted 13 September 2008 - 10:12 PM

Video deleted

Edited by ToeKneeArmAss, 17 September 2008 - 09:43 PM.


#13 Fratboy


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Posted 13 September 2008 - 10:16 PM

Paging John Farrell. Seriously.

Excellent work, TKAA.

#14 Guest_Corsi Combover_*

Posted 13 September 2008 - 10:29 PM

ToeKnee, you've got a PM.

#15 Rough Carrigan


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Posted 13 September 2008 - 10:33 PM

I was in Jordan's furniture watching the last game of the previous series in Toronto and noticed that Varitek was giving multiple signals and using his touch his shin guards, touch his shoulder signals even with no one on base at the end of that game.

Lurker JulE6 sent me a note to alert me that Cash was giving multiple signals to Delcarmen last night even when no one was on. If the Sox were even worried about this in Fenway, the Jays must be some amazing frigging sign stealers. (And their hitters must *really* suck if their offense is below average even with outrageously good sign stealing).

Edited by Rough Carrigan, 13 September 2008 - 10:51 PM.


#16 knucklecup


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Posted 14 September 2008 - 12:35 PM

Really cool.

Great observation.

#17 Vegas Sox Fan

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 12:59 PM

From watching the video it appears to be much more apparent when he is pitching from the stretch. A quick review of the numbers show this:

None on: .275/.307/.440/.747
Runners on: .278/.325/.511/.837

Fairly similar with the exception of the slugging numbers. It appears batters are teeing off when he pitches from the stretch and this may explain why.

Edited by Vegas Sox Fan, 14 September 2008 - 01:01 PM.


#18 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 15 September 2008 - 08:00 AM

That video evidence is pretty compelling, but it seems to me that from the windup the glove tap may not really be visible to the hitter since Byrd's hand doesn't seem to go above the glove. From the stretch though it sure looks like the batter could easily see him tapping that glove before throwing the fastball.

He's also faced the Jays 4 times in the last 6 weeks, which probably helps them with their familiarity with his pitching tics.

#19 trekfan55


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Posted 15 September 2008 - 02:51 PM

Is there any way of sending this video to John Farrell?

#20 Boggs26

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 05:38 PM

Is there any way of sending this video to John Farrell?


given the mention on NESN just now, apparently he found it...

#21 Andrew


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Posted 17 September 2008 - 05:40 PM

This thread was just mentioned on NESN by Amalie Benjamin. Evidently your video is being show to Byrd himself. Pretty cool.

#22 Foulkey Reese


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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:22 PM

So should we be happy for Toeknee? Or sad that it took somebody on an internet message board to figure this out instead of somebody on the Red Sox staff?

#23 reggiecleveland


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Posted 18 September 2008 - 01:02 AM

So should we be happy for Toeknee? Or sad that it took somebody on an internet message board to figure this out instead of somebody on the Red Sox staff?


Isn't there somebody on the Red Sox staff on this board?

#24 MoVaughnsTruck

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 07:18 AM

This thread was just mentioned on NESN by Amalie Benjamin. Evidently your video is being show to Byrd himself. Pretty cool.

Amalie also mentions the video in her article in today's Globe.

#25 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 18 September 2008 - 07:39 AM

And Steve Buckley mentions it as well.

Just think ToeKnee, if Byrd makes the adjustment and wins again you can claim you single-handedly won a game for the 2008 Red Sox. :)

Seriously, nice work.

#26 yecul


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Posted 18 September 2008 - 08:18 AM

I love subtle EV jabs.

This is good stuff and I'm glad that it's being put to use. As was mentioned above it would be nice if they had found it themselves, but I'm sure something would have come up eventually. He is new to the staff, after all.

The thing to keep in mind is that, although this is a signal, it's not necessarily THE reason for his struggles. He did have some good starts mixed in as well, where he probably was doing the same thing.

#27 ScotianSox

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 08:30 AM

This is good stuff and I'm glad that it's being put to use. As was mentioned above it would be nice if they had found it themselves, but I'm sure something would have come up eventually. He is new to the staff, after all.


It appears they were. I can see why they wouldn't talk about this to the media until the cat was let out of the bag.

From the Buckley article:

It should be noted that the Web site sonsofsamhorn.com first reported that Byrd was tipping his pitches. Byrd said he already was aware of the problem and working to correct it, and that the patting of his glove was merely one example of his pitch-tipping, noting that there are other factors.



#28 bd11

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 09:13 AM

Great job toeknee. Very cool stuff.

#29 Bucknahs Bum Ankle


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Posted 18 September 2008 - 10:26 AM

This quote from the Buckley article bears mentioning as well:

However, Byrd is not only appreciative of the sonsofsamhorn.com report, but amazed by it.

“There are some great fans in Boston,” he said. “You know what I’m saying? My gosh. It’s hard enough to get people just to watch, but that fans would pick up something like (tipping pitches) is just incredible.”


What's the value of win these days? Perhaps ToeKnee is entitled to a little remuneration here?

#30 Fratboy


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Posted 18 September 2008 - 11:21 AM

This quote from the Buckley article bears mentioning as well:
What's the value of win these days? Perhaps ToeKnee is entitled to a little remuneration here?

I'm thinking a playoff share. Or maybe 30 minutes of quality time with Byrd's reading materials. Byrd's next start is going to be must-watch.

EDIT: And TKAA should start Friday's game thread, without question.

Edited by Fratboy, 18 September 2008 - 11:24 AM.


#31 jayhoz


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Posted 18 September 2008 - 11:25 AM

Seriously ToeKnee deserves some choice seats to at least one playoff game. Mr. Henry make it so.

Well done sir.

#32 Pearl Wilson


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Posted 18 September 2008 - 11:32 AM

I like Byrd's attitude since he's been here. The question now is: will he eliminate the tapping before the FB or will he add a tap before random other pitches?

...and ToeKnee, that bit about "there are other factors" sounds like a challenge.

#33 Worst Trade Evah


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Posted 18 September 2008 - 11:33 AM

I just wish they'd identified him in print. It'd be awesome to see "ToeKneeArmAss" spelled out in the Globe.

#34 Bucknahs Bum Ankle


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Posted 18 September 2008 - 11:55 AM

I like Byrd's attitude since he's been here. The question now is: will he eliminate the tapping before the FB or will he add a tap before random other pitches?

Adding a tap before offspeed pitches and eliminating it from fastballs could work in the short term. Then just start doing it randomly before different types of pitches onces they start catching on. Heck, a double clutch, double tap, river dance routine ahead of one of his pithches would be awesome.

#35 sfip


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Posted 18 September 2008 - 12:33 PM

Who needs a cameraphone* when you can still post something useful on youtube?

*see TKAA's tagline, assuming it doesn't get changed before you see it.

#36 ToeKneeArmAss


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Posted 18 September 2008 - 05:56 PM

I'm just happy to be here and I hope I can help the team. /spring_training_cliché

Coincidentally, I'm going to the game tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see if he makes any adjustments.

Only wish that this could have gotten to him in a less public manner. Except that the attention has been kinda fun.

I've always been in total awe of the baseball knowledge on this board. It's a nice feeling to contribute something you all seem to appreciate.

#37 Gator's '88 MVP

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 09:29 PM

Is there a current location of this video where we can watch? Youtube didn't turn anything up. I'm quite intrigued to watch this video.

Nice job, btw!

#38 ToeKneeArmAss


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Posted 18 September 2008 - 09:46 PM

Is there a current location of this video where we can watch? Youtube didn't turn anything up. I'm quite intrigued to watch this video.

Nice job, btw!


I made it private since it seemed counterproductive to the RS to leave it up there at this point. If anyone wants to see it and has a youtube account, PM me your username and I'll add you to the private viewers list..

#39 Skiponzo

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 12:15 AM

One more mention of the video. This time on MLB.com.

And he was also satisfied with making a technical adjustment that he credits to a Red Sox fan website -- Sons of Sam Horn.

"I feel like I did OK, thanks to the Sons of Sam Horn website, the Boston fans writing me letters, letting me know that I'm tipping my pitches," said Byrd. "It's hard to pitch up here. You do one little thing wrong and it seems like everybody knows about it, because of the great TV coverage and scouting is so advanced now. I did have to work on that and talked to [pitching coach]John Farrell and switched things up, and I think it helped."



Nice job Toeknee!

#40 Kremlin Watcher

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 04:59 AM

Maybe someone can arrange a clubhouse tour for him.

#41 LoweTek

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 05:21 AM

Maybe someone can arrange a clubhouse tour for him.

Funny.

As I was watching Byrd last night I was looking for his adjustment. There was no doubt he was conscious of the tipping issue. I noted he would seem to intentionally choose a more random glove tapping or motion as he seemed to take an extra second or two to think about it and maybe do no glove tap at all. For a few innings I was correlating in my head and it was clear part of his game was to utilize the expected tip-off and mixing it in and out to his own advantage.

I'm looking forward to seeing whether Lee's in depth analysis of Byrd's work last night backs up these observations.

In the past I have tried to argue the case that what is written on this board is read by RS people has actual impact and influence, be it positive, negative, subtle or otherwise and I have been for the most part rebuffed. It is good to finally see it confirmed in this instance. Couldn't happen to a better baseball man (Lee). Maybe this leads everyone to think thrice before they click Add Reply on the public fora, especially here on the Main Board.

#42 Frisbetarian


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Posted 20 September 2008 - 07:04 AM

Kudos, TKAA.

Kudos to Byrd, as well, for first listening to, then crediting and showing appreciation for, info from a fan.

You should be very proud, Lee.

#43 ToeKneeArmAss


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Posted 20 September 2008 - 10:51 AM

Funny.

As I was watching Byrd last night I was looking for his adjustment. There was no doubt he was conscious of the tipping issue. I noted he would seem to intentionally choose a more random glove tapping or motion as he seemed to take an extra second or two to think about it and maybe do no glove tap at all. For a few innings I was correlating in my head and it was clear part of his game was to utilize the expected tip-off and mixing it in and out to his own advantage.

I'm looking forward to seeing whether Lee's in depth analysis of Byrd's work last night backs up these observations.

In the past I have tried to argue the case that what is written on this board is read by RS people has actual impact and influence, be it positive, negative, subtle or otherwise and I have been for the most part rebuffed. It is good to finally see it confirmed in this instance. Couldn't happen to a better baseball man (Lee). Maybe this leads everyone to think thrice before they click Add Reply on the public fora, especially here on the Main Board.


Thanks LT. From our seats (just beyond 1b at field level) it was difficult to see what Byrd's delivery looked like, and I haven't had a chance to review the video. But it certainly seemed like he was deliberately mixing things up.

Amalie was kind enough to spend a few minutes chatting with us before the game (my wife chaperoned). She said that when she asked Byrd if he knew there was some buzz that he was tipping, he said "Do you mean the Sons of Sam Horn thing?". So it seems clear that they keep an eye on us.