Ryan Tepera played a huge role in helping the White Sox avoid elimination against the Astros on Sunday night. His confidence seemed to spill over into the post-game as he subtly accused the Astros of cheating once again in the ALDS.
“They’ve had a reputation of doing some sketchy stuff over there. We can say it’s a little bit of a difference. I think you saw the swings and misses tonight compared to the first two games at Minute Maid.”
The Astros have a reputation for being a team that hits for contact. They do not strike out much. However, they were also caught in one of the biggest cheating scandals the sport has ever seen, something that will forever tarnish their legacy.
Tepera also has a point. The Astros did seem to have a harder time making contact in Chicago. White Sox pitchers accumulated 16 strikeouts in Game 3 matching their total from Games 1 and 2 combined. In Game 1 they had nine strikeouts and in Game 2 they only had seven.
But it didn’t seem to bother Tepera when he pitched in Houston. He threw a perfect sixth inning in Game 2 and only needed five pitches to do so. When the White Sox returned home the next game he came up clutch. He deserves a game ball for his efforts.
Game 3 of the ALDS was a wild ride. The first four innings produced some of the craziest baseball we have seen on the Southside in a long time. After trailing 5-1 the White Sox regained the lead only to cough it up once again then regain it when a throw deflected off Yasmani Grandal as he was running to first. In just four innings the White Sox and Astros combined for 15 runs.
Momentum was swinging all over the place until Ryan Tepera calmed everything down. On the FS1 broadcast color commentator and former White Sox catcher, AJ Pierzynski referred to Tepera as a MVP of the Game.
When Tepera entered the game in the fifth inning he shut down the Astros bats. In the process, he helped the White Sox keep a firm grasp on the momentum while protecting the three-run lead.
He induced the White Sox first 1-2-3 inning since the top of the first. He got Carlos Correa to line out, Kyle Tucker to ground, then finished the frame by getting Yuri Gurriel to go down on strikes. He only needed nine pitches to dispose of the Astros.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) October 11, 2021
Tony La Russa trotted him back out for the sixth inning and he went back to work. He opened the frame by getting Jake Meyers to fly out to left field then got Martin Maldonado to whiff on a slider. He then froze Jose Altuve with a fastball and got him to go down looking for back-to-back strikeouts.
His two scoreless innings started a streak of 15 consecutive hitters retired by the White Sox bullpen, who held the Astros scoreless the rest of the way.
The Astros bats could have had an off night in a tough road environment. But them trying to find some shortcuts during their games in Houston as Tepera claimed, is not out of the realm of possibilities either It will be interesting to see if the Astros use his comments as bulletin board material as this series heats up.