Cracking the code
Lance McCullers, Jr., was seemingly tipping his pitches in Game 3 of the World Series, and the Phillies capitalized.
Bryce Harper saw something.
A clue. A tell.
The Phillies slugger smashed the first pitch he saw from Houston's Lance McCullers, Jr. into the right field seats to give Philadelphia a 2-0 lead.
Soon after, Harper was seen calling back teammate Alec Bohm from the on-deck circle to tell him something.
It's not typically a time for friendly chit-chat — unless Harper had details to share about the pitcher's delivery.
Bohm proceeded to go yard himself as Philadelphia, deciphering McCullers' pitches, built a commanding Game 3 lead. Brandon Marsh, Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins also went deep for the Phillies.
Steve Johnson (@LegKickNationOG on Twitter) analyzed McCullers' pitch-tipping and broke down the differences in his delivery based on the pitch.
Players look for anything — the pitcher's grip of the ball, holding his glove differently, a change in leg kick — for an advantage.
It doesn't always work out!
Ken Caminiti prided himself on picking up hall of famer Randy Johnson tipping his pitches, but it never seemed to help him much. The Big Unit was that good.
He also picked up a tipped pitch in an at-bat against Kevin Jarvis, and ended up hitting Jarvis hard, an at-bat that Caminiti recalled years later after he crossed paths with Jarvis.
"Did you play for the Rockies three years ago?" Ken asked Jarvis, his agent Rick Licht recalled to the LA Times.
Yeah, Jarvis said.
"Well," Ken told him, "Back then, you were tipping your curveball."
But that pitch-tipping didn't happen in Game 3 of the World Series, with so much hanging in the balance.