Seth Lugo Blames Astros for Changing Course of His Career in 2017 Mets Start

New York Mets pitcher Seth Lugo taking on the Houston Astros
New York Mets pitcher Seth Lugo taking on the Houston Astros / Rich Schultz/Getty Images

In September of 2017, New York Mets relief pitcher Seth Lugo was named the starter for the second game of a doubleheader against the Houston Astros. It was his chance to prove he could compete for a spot in the starting rotation the following year, and for five innings, it looked like he might get that chance.

But in the bottom of the sixth, that opportunity disappeared. The Houston Astros knocked Lugo out of the game, and he's been relegated to the bullpen ever since. And Lugo thinks he has an idea about what might have happened.

“I remember pitching really good the first half of the game, and then I don’t know why, they knocked me out of the game in one inning,” Lugo said this week at Mets Spring Training via Newsday. “I pitched that inning. I was making good pitches. And when you execute a pitch, you shouldn’t give up good hits. Maybe a little bloop or a ground ball up the middle or something. But their whole approach changed.”

We've heard various versions of that story from pitchers who clashed with the 2017 Astros, who were later discovered to have shamelessly stolen opponents' pitching signs during home games.

That Astros team that ended Lugo's starter aspirations was exposed as a cheater, and had technology set up to steal signs electronically at Minute Maid Park where Lugo was pitching that day.

And he believes that their illegal tactics altered the whole course of his career.

“If I could’ve finished a shutout against the Astros that game,” he said, “who knows where I could be?”

That's a maddening question to ask, Seth. And you're not alone in thinking this, sadly enough.