Lance McCullers ‘drastically’ tipped pitches

What did Bryce Harper figure out?

That’s what the baseball world is wondering after the slugger appeared to tip off Phillies teammate Alec Bohm. Harper homered in the first inning, and soon after was seen on Fox cameras calling for Bohm, who was in the on-deck circle, then whispering something to him.

Bohm then led off the second inning with a home run on the first pitch from Lance McCullers Jr. to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead on their way to a 7-0 rout – and a 2-1 World Series lead.

Harper and Bohm won’t say what “information” was discussed for obvious reasons, and McCullers is certain he was not tipping pitches. However, Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez — doing analysis for MLB Network — is convinced otherwise.

“Without a doubt. If I know a thing or two about mechanics and being consistent with mechanics, this is the big leagues. We have a whole bunch of cameras, it’s impossible for them not to tell the difference between one pitch and the other,” said Martinez, who won three Cy Young Awards and finished his career in Philadelphia.

“Especially when you have guys who are a student of the game, like Bryce Harper. He’s not only a veteran, he knows exactly what he’s looking for.”

Martinez contended that McCullers’ motion would come up higher for his slider than his fastball. The MLB Network postgame show highlighted the difference in his curveball and sinker.

“I am surprised to see it that drastic because it takes a lot less for them to pick it up when you are in the big leagues,” Martinez said. “… McCullers is really exaggerating what he does. This is the slider, all the way up over (the World Series logo on his hat). On the fastball, he barely reaches his ears. That’s a drastic move right there, a drastic change between one pitch and the other. They can tell.”

Lance McCullers on the mound for Game 3 of the 2022 World Series.
Lance McCullers on the mound for Game 3 of the 2022 World Series.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Martinez’s point was that it would take far less for a batter to notice. However, McCullers was insistent after the game that was not the case.

“I think guys have conversations all the time before at-bats and innings,’’ McCullers said. “I’m not gonna sit here and say anything like that. I got whooped. End of story.”

There’s no argument about the “getting whooped” part. The 29-year-old McCullers allowed five Phillies home runs before getting pulled after 4 1/3 innings. He had been effective in his previous two postseason starts, limiting the Mariners and Yankees to three runs over 11 innings.

A graphic showing Lance McCullers
A graphic showing Lance McCullers

Pedro Martinez shows off the difference in the motions.
Pedro Martinez shows off the difference in the motions.

“I think anytime you have information, you want to be able to give that to your teammates at any point,’’ Harper said. “So anytime I can help my teammates, throughout the whole season we’ve done that.”

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