Tigers

Is Alex Avila Tipping Pitches? [BLOG]

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DETROIT, MI - MAY 25:  Detroit Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones #51 talks with pitcher Justin verlander #35 and catcher Alex Avila #13 during the seventh inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park on May 25, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Rangers defeated the Tigers 12-4.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

DETROIT, MI – MAY 25: Detroit Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones #51 talks with pitcher Justin verlander #35 and catcher Alex Avila #13 during the seventh inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park on May 25, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Rangers defeated the Tigers 12-4. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

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By: Evan Jankens @kingofthekc After Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals, the Tigers now trail the Royals by 1.5 games in the American League Central, something most Tigers fans never imagined — even in nightmares. With all the attention on the starting pitching a reader of NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk believes that Alex Avila is tipping his pitches.

Just something I noticed and started tracking yesterday… The Tigers recent pitching woes really make me believe that there must be some way they were tipping their pitches. As I watched yesterday’s game against the Royals, I noticed Avila doing something that may or may not be a tell. He gives the infield position signs, sends the signs to the pitcher and then does one of the following: Smacks his glove once, fiddles/tightens it and it’s usually a fastball. Smacks his glove twice, fiddles/tightens it and it’s usually a an off-speed pitch. I started tracking around the second inning and got a 85% success rate at guessing the pitches. It’s probably nothing (and i’m reaching for an explanation for our recent performance) but I have to believe the staff or the catcher is tipping their hand somehow. Avila really was obvious when Phil Coke was in there. He stopped after that inning (for the most part). Compared to Salvador Perez, who never alters his routine, it stuck out some.

This is something I am now going to watch for in the Tigers’ next game. If this is the case, it would make sense since the last time Bryan Holaday caught an entire game was June 12, 2014, when Max Scherzer threw his first career complete game. After reading this, do you think Alex is tipping pitches?

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