The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead over the Dodgers in the World Series Wednesday night, with a 4-2 win at Fenway. But Dana LeVangie, Boston's pitching coach, isn't too happy about how he handled star Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado. In the fourth inning, Yasiel Puig's single drove Machado in from second base to give L.A. a 2-1 lead. According to LeVangie, Puig had a little help at the plate.
"I wish I would have gone out there before the Puig at-bat, before he came up in that situation, because I saw the whole thing," LeVangie told Bleacher Report late Wednesday. Machado, standing on second during Puig's at-bat, went through an elaborate series of movements, touching his cap and his thigh with both hands at times, or grabbing his jersey. It was obvious to Boston's pitching coach that he was signaling Puig which pitch was coming.
"Was it a little exaggerated? Yeah, maybe, but I saw the whole thing," LeVangie said. "I had told [Boston manager] Alex [Cora] I wanted to go [to the mound] before the Puig at-bat because I wanted to talk about some things. But when a guy gets a big punchout in that situation and a coach comes out to take a visit...I didn't want to f--k with the momentum there because David got a huge strikeout." His decision not to out to the mound to switch up the signs, or at least alert them to what was happening, likely cost them what could have been a deciding run.
"David makes a good pitch on Puig," LeVangie said. "He jams him. [Puig] gets a flair. Then I gotta go out." Not going out earlier to warn his pitcher irked LeVangie because maybe then Yuig doesn't drive him in. "We had a conversation," Dana said. "I don't want to get into the depths of it, but I brought up exactly what you're talking about. I let it get in my way—because of the strikeout, I didn't go out there [earlier]. I was so pissed that I didn't."
Price retired the side two more times in the fifth and sixth, and the Dodgers didn't score again.
Machado has been in the news twice already this postseason when Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich called him a "dirty player" in the NLCS, and when he told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal "I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle’."
Boston's pitching coach made a point of telling Bleacher Report that Machado's sign stealing wasn't at all dirty. "Oh, it's clean," Dana said. "It's baseball. If you're not hiding your stuff with a runner on second base and you're giving them a free view, that's on you, the pitcher and the catcher. It's up to the pitcher and catcher to manage that and to us to oversee it and make sure we're going about it the right way."
"We see this all the time. Not just him, with everyone. We are very respectful of all this, and it's a big part of who we are and what we try to manage," he added.
Game 3 is Friday night in Los Angeles with first pitch coming a little after 8 p.m. ET.