Apr 4, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Dustin McGowan (29) throws a ball in a game against the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
During last night’s Blue Jays home opener, with Dustin McGowan in his debut start of the season, the Yankees were all over him during the first inning, with five hits and two early runs.
During the game, two time all-star pitcher Mark Mulder tweeted:
"Someone please tell McGowen for the #BlueJays he is tipping every pitch from the stretch. Or this isn’t going to go well. #glove— Mark Mulder (@markmulder20) April 4, 2014"
In the post-game, manager John Gibbons confirmed Mulder’s suspicions, that McGowan was indeed tipping his pitches in some manner during the stretch, allowing the Yankees to anticipate what kind of pitch they would see.
Pitching coach Pete Walker spoke to Sportsnet’s Arash Madani during Saturday’s pregame and confirmed this, saying the Yankees may or may not have known what was coming, but he said, “We’ve rectified this.”
About the issue, McGowan said, “Even I noticed after the first inning they were just putting good swings on every pitch I threw.”
Gregg Zaun also spoke about McGowan’s tipping during Saturday’s pregame. He mentioned that McGowan was tipping in the first inning, but it was subtle and not occurring during every pitch.
The Yankees have not indicated that they noticed any kind of tipping.
If the Yankees were picking up on pitches being tipped, would they be able to do so that quickly in the first inning? If this is the case then this speaks to maybe something that was going on in the spring that went unnoticed by the Jays. The bulk of the Yankee hits did occur during this first inning, and McGowan seemed to settle in a bit afterwards.
It’s also interesting that the Jays are being so upfront about this. If it is a real issue, why would they want to bring attention to it? They must indeed be sure that it is already completely resolved.
Either way, McGowan’s next outing will be crucial. A poor performance and the Jays may already need to consider another option. McGowan will have something to work on during the interim before his next start. Let’s hope he can make quick adjustments before then, without affecting anything else.