Astros checking if Wandy is tipping pitches
Pudge believes hitters know when curveball is coming
HOUSTON -- When general manager Ed Wade showed up at Minute Maid Park on Friday morning to prepare for a workout of First-Year Player Draft prospects, he stumbled upon catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who told him he believed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez was tipping pitches.
Rodriguez was pummeled in Thursday's 10-3 loss to Colorado, giving up 10 hits, including four home runs, in five innings against a team he had dominated a few weeks earlier. The left-hander told reporters after the game he believed the hitter could tell what he was throwing, and his catcher apparently agreed.
"If that's an issue, we certainly have to address it," Wade said. "It sounds like to me, based on the diagnosis that Pudge made, it's something that's easily resolved. Easier for me to say than Wandy to actually accomplish it, but it's something at least we're thinking is a possibility."
Both the starter and the veteran catcher analyzed video Friday, and the pitcher said he couldn't tell if he was tipping pitches.
"[Pudge] told me, 'I think you're moving your [left] elbow a little bit when you throw your curveball,'" Wandy Rodriguez said. "When I saw the video today, I didn't see anything, so I don't know what's going on."
Ivan Rodriguez wouldn't confirm for reporters if Wandy Rodriguez was indeed doing something to give away his pitches.
"We have to look at the video and see," he said.
Astros pitching coach Dewey Robinson said Wandy Rodriguez went through a phase last year when he was tipping pitches. He thought the Rockies didn't appear to be fooled by some good pitches on Thursday.
"Wandy's had a history of that," he said. "Last year, a couple of teams had his pitches, and it makes a big difference because his curveball is so good. If you know it's coming, you can lay off of it and wait for a fastball, and it makes a difference.
"We don't know if teams did it or not this year, but it's always something we have to guard against, so we constantly look at video to see if we can pick something up the other team has."
What's more, Robinson asks a couple of players on the bench, including Darin Erstad, to study Wandy Rodriguez's delivery to see if they can see anything that would tip off an opponent to an incoming pitch.
"We don't have as good of a view as the [opposing] hitter gets, so we have to get the camera views from behind home plate and see," Robinson said. "I don't want to make a big deal out of this, but it's something we have to be conscious of."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.