Astros: Let the Spin Rate Gate begin after Trevor Bauer’s tweet

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 29: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros reacts in the sixth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park on April 29, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 29: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros reacts in the sixth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park on April 29, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Trevor Bauer calls out the Astros rotation for doctoring the ball.

It is no secret how good the Astros starting rotation has done this year. As a team, the Astros have a 2.54 ERA, which is the best in baseball. The Diamondbacks are second with a 2.96 ERA, followed by the Brewers with a 3.20 ERA. In the American League, the Red Sox have a 3.34 team ERA. The Astros and Red Sox are the only two teams in the AL sit in the top six teams in baseball regarding ERA.

That makes sense, because of the designated hitter in the American League. Which makes the Astros team ERA impressive and why the team is 20-10 despite offensive woes at times. The Astros are also top in the MLB with 10.55 strikeouts per nine innings pitched and a 1.00 WHIP. With all the early no-hit innings in the games recently, it’s not hard to imagine why. This team should eventually throw a no-hitter this year.

After Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton‘s gems the last two games, a lot of focus has been on the pitchers spin rate. This season, the average pitchers’ spin rate on a four-seam fastball is 2,263.21 rotations per minute. Cole’s RPM is 2,329.42 with his four-seam fastball, while his two-seam fastball spin rate is 2,289 RPM.

While that may seem like a bunch of numbers, this is what the analytics of baseball is leading to. With the way that Cole and Morton are racking up strikeouts, some people are wondering what has changed with their pitching? How have they become so dominating? I know we discussed this a little on this week’s Talking Stros, but something tells me it’s going to be a big deal after today’s events.

Astros doctoring the ball?

Today, Kevin Boddy responded to a tweet today suggesting that the Astros are doctoring the ball. The tweeter asked if the Astros could be using some foreign substance to increase their spin rate. It mentioned Morton’s bubble gum incident in the postseason. While Boddy dismissed part of it, he said that it was a “weird coincidence you have discovered.” Well, that’s alright, but it gained the attention of Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer.

Bauer replied to Boddy on Twitter.

"“If there was just a really quick way to increase spin rate. Like what if you could trade for a player knowing that you can bump his spin rate a couple hundred rpm overnight…imagine the steals you could get on the trade market.” – Trevor Bauer."

Maybe it wasn’t aimed directly at the Astros.

While Bauer came out and said he wasn’t really pointing out the Astros, but that the MLB isn’t consistent in enforcing the rules. He later told people to be patient, “everything will come out in time.” Bauer is not after individual players but is seeking change in the game. Bauer claims to have five years of research on the doctored balls, we will see. He even joked about where would be the best median to distribute the data?

However, Lance McCullers replied to Bauer saying that jealousy is not a good look on him. He said there was no reason for this discussion and then cracked a joke that his spin rate on his four-seam fastball sucked. A.J. Hinch mentioned it during an interview with the MLB Network. He alluded to making such a statement without giving out the evidence.

When referring to Cole, Hinch said that they had made some small tweaks to him. Overall, he said he’s surprised that it became a story. Welcome to the world of social media. Justin Verlander is probably focused on today’s game, but expect a comeback soon from him.

Next: Astros’ McCullers Trying to Bury a Very Bad, No Good, Horrible Inning

What you have to love is their teammates coming out to support the starters. First, it was McCullers. Then it was Alex Bregman. His tweet was the goat. He said, “Relax Tyler … those World Series balls spin a little different.” Bregman threw shade at Bauer, who then attempted a comeback. It doesn’t matter until the two teams face each other twice in May. The Astros need to focus on what they do best and ignore the haters.

***Stats from MLB Statcast***