MLB insider Tom Verducci has been a polarizing figure as it pertains to his opinions of the Houston Astros sign-stealing operation. Though he adamantly believes that the team didn't use buzzers as a means to cheat, the Sports Illustrated columnist referenced Clayton Kershaw's start in the 2017 World Series as telling evidence that Houston cheated against the Los Angels Dodgers, well into the Fall Classic..
Short of further footage of hearing echoes of somebody banging on a trash can before an Astros batter gets a perfect read on a pitch, this is about as conclusive as evidence gets. 100% rate of laying off. Come on.
Listen, we fully endorse the notion that Kershaw falters in the postseason, but this stat is GLARING. A three-time Cy Young doesn't throw 51 sliders and curveballs in one start without recording a swing and miss. That's not a thing that happens. Even from a renowned "choker."
The myriad of reports to surface this offseason that have convicted the Astros of sign-stealing have indicated that the team's antics were at their peak in 2017. Why would Houston stop in October with a world championship on the line?
They obviously wouldn't, and that universal understanding is exactly the reason that Jose Altuve was plunked in a freaking Spring Training game.
Throw this stat provided by Verducci in alongside the Astros' players mind-boggling home and road splits and it becomes all the more apparent that Houston cheated their way to a World Series crown.