Joe Maddon instructing Angels to not throw at Astros for cheating
By Kyle Franzoni
The Los Angeles Angels manager has made it known that the team will not try to punish Astros hitters for their cheating scandal.
Angels’ manager Joe Maddon is a fairly peaceful man. So it comes as no surprise that, unlike the neighboring Dodgers, he has instructed his team to not seek retribution from the Houston Astros over their cheating scandal.
The Astros will visit Anaheim starting Friday, the first time the two teams have met since the Astros’ 2017 cheating scandal became public knowledge. After watching what went down in the ‘Stros recent series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the subsequent suspension handed out to Joe Kelly as a result, Maddon wanted to preemptively prevent his team from suffering a similar fate.
"“You got to choose the method you want to incorporate, and I would prefer that we just go play baseball.” – (h/t Jeff Fletcher, Orange County Register)"
That’s not to say that Maddon or any other members of the Angels are not sympathetic to other teams and their desire to send a message to the Astros. Angels reliever Keynan Middleton was one of the first players to publicly support Joe Kelly after his suspension. Likewise, Maddon himself noted that he could put himself in the Dodgers’ shoes. However, Maddon also noted that Kelly’s suspension should be enough of a deterrent to keep his team from being involved.
"“What happened (Tuesday), if you were immediately impacted by (the sign-stealing), I could get it a little bit. But then you saw the commissioner’s response, regarding what happened.”"
The Angels could make their own case about how much impact the Astros cheating had on them in 2017, but it likely would be best to let things lie in that regard. The team went 7-12 against Houston that season, but Halos pitchers appeared to handle themselves well, holding a 3.90 ERA and a 1.139 WHIP against the Astros that season.
While the Houston team was punished for its actions, the players escaped largely unpunished by Major League Baseball. The team was also allowed to retain their World Series crown. Sure, they took a hit in the court of public opinion, but the league was handcuffed by the prior rules on such situations.
That appears to be changing, as the league and players’ association are said to have come to an agreement on rules that would open the door for the commissioner to punish players accordingly for improper sign-stealing. While the level of that punishment remains to be seen, it is safe to assume that it will be steep, especially in light of the Astros issue.
For now, the Angels appear intent on testing their mettle against the Astros on the playing field, pitting their lineup against one of the best in the game. We’ll see how that unfolds this weekend.