Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez isn't certain the Miami Marlins are stealing signs - but a sweep by the Fish this week made the Braves skipper a little, uh, suspicious.
Gonzalez got a bit paranoid when the Marlins outscored his club, 23-7, while pounding Atlanta starters Alex Wood (he of the 1.54 ERA) and Aaron Harang (0.85), who combined to allow 16 runs in 92/3 innings.
As he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it made Gonzalez turn the Braves dugout into a baseball version of the NSA on Wednesday night: "We got three guys looking at the scoreboard . . . two guys looking at their bullpen."
He changed the signs five times. He checked catcher Evan Gattis to see if he was tipping pitches (a double agent?). He called bullpen coach Eddie Perez for intel. He had bench coach Carlos Tosca eyeball the Marlins dugout to see if "maybe somebody [was] whistling or something."
He looked for anything out of the ordinary. "There was one guy sitting in the outfield seats who had a red hat and an orange shirt. I said 'Boy, that's a bad combination to have.' I told [my players] to keep an eye on that guy over there. The guy got up, went to get a Coke."
The effort came to naught. "Yeah, you have this conspiracy theory," Gonzalez said, "but at the end, we came up with nothing."
Still, it seems, he's not sure - it may be that the Marlins were using a more subtle method than, say, the Phillies once did. "It wasn't like we saw a guy with the binoculars."
Keep an eagle eye out, Fredi. You'll figure out what happened.
Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout likes the first inning, say our friends at Stats LLC. The Millville Marvel leads the majors with five first-inning home runs in only 26 at-bats. After that, head to the snack bar: after the second, Trout's gone yard once in 83 at-bats. . . . New York Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon, on the other hand, doesn't much like the first - four of the seven homers he's given up this season have come at the start.
Stats also tells us that Milwaukee Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez had a record start: K-Rod had 13 saves in as many opportunities without allowing a run. He is the first pitcher in the 46-year history of the save rule to finish April that way.
Rod Tafoya is on the brink of his 300th win - but he's got no shot at the Hall of Fame. That's because the lefthander has compiled his 299-60 record over the last 20 years in men's senior leagues. Tafoya, an Albuquerque banker and former Phillies scout who can still gun it at 86 m.p.h., goes for win No. 300 on Saturday, three days before he turns 50.
Phillies fans, expect Ruben Amaro to announce a big signing any day now.