The Cardinals offensive outburst in the seventh inning of Friday’s 10-9 win in Game One of the National League Division Series, scoring eight runs off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, created speculation that they engaged in one of baseball’s oldest tactics.
Stealing signs from the catcher.
It wasn’t until the seventh inning when Kershaw pitched from the stretch and the Cardinals got runners on base that anyone thought to accuse them of code breaking. But, Kershaw giving up four straight hits and then the bases clearing double to Matt Carpenter was such an unusual occurrence, that the questions started even before Matt Holliday’s three-run homer capped the scoring binge.
Did the Cardinals know what pitches were coming? Their hitters say no.
“C’mon! I’ve been playing 11 years and I’m stealing signs?” Holliday told the LA Times.
Kershaw also dismissed the notion.
“I think that’s discrediting their team, when you start thinking about that. It’s just a cop out, so no, I don’t think so,” he said, defiantly, after the game.
Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis says the idea of Cardinals hitters stealing signs didn’t enter his mind until he checked his phone afterward and saw it flooded with messages from people asking about it.
“We know the Cardinals are always looking for that competitive advantage and we appreciate that about them that they’re competing even when they’re out on the bases. We try to do our best to try to mix things up and be unpredictable and try to set up late to try not to tip anything.
I don’t think we can credit anything that they did from stealing, I just think we have to give them credit for how they swung the bat,” Ellis said.