Mark Sweeney and Frank Thomas address Trevor Bauer’s claim that Astros pitchers are doctoring balls

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Mark Sweeney and Frank Thomas join Chris Myers to discuss Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer accusing Houston pitchers of doctoring baseballs to give themselves an advantage.

ANNOUNCER: Trevor Bauer of the Indians. There's a lot to take in here. But I'm going to just kind of simplify it. It started with a question on Twitter about the Astros. Are they doctoring the baseball, throwing spitballs? Look at the spin rates of Verlander. [INAUDIBLE] the spin rates are the key topic.

So Bauer says, if there was just a really quick way to increase spin rate, what would you do? A couple hundred. All right, imagine the Steelers you could get on the trade market if only that existed. Yeah, and among the number of Astros that responded, and this is Lance McCullers, jealousy isn't a good look you, my man, referring to Bauer here. You have great stuff, worked hard like the rest of us. I won't ask about spin rate. Spin on my access and my four seem an A, and he put the dollar signs to be polite.


ANNOUNCER: You can fill in the A [INAUDIBLE]. All right, way to shoot back. So let me, before we get to this, I'm fascinated, because we sat and talked about this. How many-- well, doctoring the baseball's been around forever. As fans we assume, hey, that's cheating, that's bending the rules. What-- today, what percentage, more than half of, would you say, pitchers in all of baseball are doctoring the baseball?

- I would say over half.

- Over half. You'd agree with that.

- You see how these balls are flying out of the ballpark?

ANNOUNCER: Well, I'm just asking.

- Every pitcher looks for an edge.


- It's always been that way. And that's why it's up to the umpires to really watch the ballgame, because--

- But that's breaking the rules, right?

- Well, I mean--

- It's a competitive advantage.

- Yes.

- I think it's one of those things that you're in the competition mode. You're not worried about seeing who's doing what. I think it was just understood when you were playing. It still happens. It's a competitive advantage. I think a lot of people--

ANNOUNCER: What's your reaction--

- --take it.

ANNOUNCER: --to Bauer's comment?

- I mean, it could have some relevancy.


- If it was a hitter.

- It's a pitcher--

- Yeah.

- --talking about another pitcher and a whole pitching staff. It was a hitter complaining, then it sounds like you're whining a little bit, because these guys are way above pitching, one of the best staffs I've seen in a while.

But when it's a pitcher accusing, you know, pitchers to pitcher, they know the tricks of the trade. There are ways of making the ball tack a little more, gum--

ANNOUNCER: Yeah, that was mentioned, chewing gum.

- --different things that did a little tackiness--

- Are umpires looking for this?

- --to get that bigger spin rate.

- With cameras everywhere, can't you spot this kind of thing?

- Well, you can spot it. But you have to also be aware of it and showing that it is a concern maybe looking forward. You remember Michael Pineda. Michael Pineda--


- --to me, well, that's flagrant. He's sitting there [INAUDIBLE]

- Yeah, it was obvious.

- --down your neck.

- Right.

- That's a problem. But I think it's just the awareness. And here's Michael Pineda, too. John Farrell's looking. There's a substance--

ANNOUNCER: Somebody calls for it.

- --to it. They're looking for it in what's happening. Typically, it's on your glove, just to have what's going on. But then there's a big spot in your neck? That's a problem to me.

ANNOUNCER: So it does give you an advantage in terms of spin rate, right, which makes it more-- it gives the pitcher the advantage.

- I look at it this way. It's competition. You're going out there and trying to compete against these guys. If they have a better grip of the ball, I'm OK with it. I want them to [INAUDIBLE].

- I'm going to tell you right now, we all know the ball has changed.


- There's been an equipment change in--


- --the ball. It happened from decade to decade. So what do you do? You find a way to get a better breaking ball. These guys throw the ball 95 to 100. Why not have a better breaking ball?

ANNOUNCER: All right.

- Bottom line is, until you catch someone, who cares about [INAUDIBLE]?

- So are the Astros doing it better than everybody else? Or they have better pitchers?

- They have better stuff than everybody else.

- Yeah, OK.

- If you look top--


- --to bottom, their stuff is legitimate. When you're-- even going before this accusation, it's really difficult to say, hey, Gerrit Cole is struggling. This is a guy that was a number one. Now he's a number four for the Houston.

ANNOUNCER: Leads the league in strikeouts.

- Yeah.

- I sure hope-- Bauer's saying it's the Indians, all their pitching staff is clean. Is he going to come after them, right, if they get called out? AJ Hinch had the best line, the manager, say, hey, sweep your own porch. We'll take care of things.

- Exactly.

- At the end of this month, they play each other seven different times. The Indians--

- The intensity ramps up.

- --and the Astros. That'll be fun to see if Bauer-- or who's pitching or who's spinning their rate or whatever.