In less than 24 hours, Yu Darvish went from giving the Astros the benefit of the doubt to taking an L on Twitter against Christian Yelich over whether Yelich may have been getting signs at Miller Park while facing him.
First, Darvish took the high road Thursday as he discussed being knocked out by Houston in the second inning of Game 7 in the 2017 World Series while pitching for the Dodgers.
Darvish made the comments after former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers told The Athletic that Houston was using a video system to steal signs at Minute Maid Park that year. The Astros-Dodgers Game 7 was played in Los Angeles, however.
“If you ask me if I got hit in Game 7 because (the Astros) stole signs, I don’t think so,” he said in Japanese, which the Los Angeles Times translated into English. “The Astros have great players who don’t have to do that. So I think that whether or not they stole signs, the results wouldn’t have changed.”
The belief at the time was that Darvish was tipping his pitches, although the Astros had also been supected of electronic spying, something they’re accused of still doing.
Darvish’s back-and-forth with Yelich came about when a Bleacher Report contributor posted video from a Cubs-Brewers game last Sept. 7 that purportedly showed Yelich glancing toward the Brewers’ bullpen in left-center field just before Darvish was about to pitch. (The almost-imperceptible eye movement in question happens about 12 seconds into the video.) Darvish stepped off the rubber right after.
Here’s the video – it happens very quickly, and just before Yu steps off. Yelich is locked on Darvish, eyes flick toward left center, then back to Darvish. Yu steps off. pic.twitter.com/hqOSvGMGEh
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 15, 2019
Darvish replied that Yelich’s furtive glance caused him to step off. That response annoyed Yelich to the point he tweeted back this:
That led Darvish to respond that he wasn’t accusing Yelich or the Brewers of anything.
But that’s not mean Brewers stealing signs.
— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) November 15, 2019
Yelich’s career numbers against Darvish are good — 4 for 11 (.364 average) with two home runs — but the larger issue in the Twitterverse (and the main reason the B-R contributor put up the video) is that there have been rumors the Brewers steal signs at home. Yelich did not specify where he was looking in the B-R video or why his eyes might have wandered.
To add to the popcorn factor of this whole episode, free-agent third baseman Josh Donaldson decided to insert himself into the exchange:
💀 I could use some help off him whatcha got?
— Josh Donaldson (@BringerOfRain20) November 15, 2019
Darvish came back with:
Donaldson is 4 for 25 (.160) with 12 strikeouts lifetime vs. Darvish.