Ryan Tepera might have just woken up the demon. After Sunday’s game, the White Sox reliever had some controversial words about the Astros and brought back the sign-stealing scandal to mind. You just don’t do that in a postseason series. Hours before Game 4, that’s a distraction that could easily hurt his team.
White Sox reliever Ryan Tepera on the Astros: "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."— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) October 11, 2021
Tepera signaled the 22 swings-and-misses and the 16 strikeouts the Astros had on Sunday. It was a bad game, one easy to forget. But based on a single game, you just shouldn’t make those comments as they can lead to not-so-good things.
The best scenario for the Astros is that they use Tepera’s words as fuel. That’s it. And when you have Carlos Correa on your team, when you have Yuli Gurriel and José Altuve on your team, those comments can come back at you and hurt your team in the shape of momentum. The Astros players have been under scrutiny since late 2019 and they know how to deal with this kind of thing.
If not, think about 2020. It was everyone against the Astros and they ended up one game shy of the World Series. They were hungry to prove they were real and they swept the Twins in the wild card series, won three of four against the Athletics in the ALDS, and lost four of seven vs the Rays in the ALCS.
In baseball, as in life, there’s something called momentum and pride. What came out from Tepera’s mouth could be the fire that lights the Astros’ pride and build some momentum to complete an ALDS win and move on to the ALCS.
If Tepera was trying to play dirty mind games and melt the Astros’ morale, he should be aware of the risk he took after Game 3. The knife may be thrown back at him at 100 miles per hour and end up in another elimination for the White Sox. Stay tuned for Game 4 Tuesday, 1:07 CDT.