And in an effort to shut down any more speculation, starter Lance McCullers Jr. tweeted a video Thursday with a closer look at his cleats.
"Y'all (expletive). Let me wear my cleats in peace," McCullers tweeted.
Cleveland Indians pitcher and Houston resident Trevor Bauer became the most notable name to bring up questions on Twitter about the Astros' pitching.
Bauer replied to a quoted tweet that brought up the possibility that starting pitchers Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Charlie Morton are using a sticky substance to doctor baseballs for increased spin.
Chewing gum? Also spit balls would reduce spin theoretically. Anyway, what a weird coincidence you have discovered. 🤔 https://t.co/t7noehg4ui— Kyle Boddy (@drivelinebases) May 1, 2018
Major League Baseball bans extra substances like pine tar from being used in live play on the mound. In addition, the three Astros named in the accusation are in the top five in the American League for the best ERA.
Bauer added more fuel to the accusation bringing up the pine tar term.
Best way to spin a ball is apply force tangential to the ball. In baseball much of the force is applied through the center of mass to generate linear velocity. Entirely possible that pine tar allows the fingers to get closer to tangential -> more spin— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) May 1, 2018
In response, members of the Astros hit back at the accusation. Reliever Collin McHugh insisted that simple coaching has helped the staff get better year after year.
If only there was this thing where people who had been around baseball a long time taught people who hadn’t been around as long. Imagine the possiblity for improvement yr over yr! We could call it coaching! https://t.co/WI4X1TCbaW— Collin McHugh (@Collin_McHugh) May 1, 2018
McCullers Jr. then brought up the possibility of envy for Bauer's outspokenness.
Jealousy isn’t a good look on you my man. You have great stuff and have worked hard for it, like the rest of us, no need for this. I will ask though because my spin rate and spin axis on my 4 seem is a$$. https://t.co/jvbLuWWqgN— Lance McCullers Jr. (@LMcCullers43) May 1, 2018
"Jealousy isn't a good look on you my man," quote tweeted McCullers. "You have great stuff and have worked hard for it, like the rest of us, no need for this. I will ask though because my spin rate and spin axis on my 4 seem (sic) is a$$."
Alex Bregman provided this mic drop in Bauer's direction:
Relax Tyler ... those World Series balls spin a little different.... 😭 https://t.co/MZ7iIPXhbC— Alex Bregman (@ABREG_1) May 1, 2018
What should be the final word in the whole saga, Astros manager A.J. Hinch dismissed Bauer's claims.
"I don't know if it's gamesmanship, or college pranks, or what would make someone have any sort of statement without any evidence, so it's kind of ridiculous that it's even a topic," Hinch told MLB Network Radio.
Bauer, a seven-year pro and starting pitcher who went 17-9 in 2017, further claimed he will have evidence to support his claim against a team he apparently respects.
Data coming soon— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) May 1, 2018
I do like the @astros I have a ton of respect for them and their process, their player development, their front office, etc. I have zero problem with their org. I think they’re pushing baseball forward and I’m all for that— Trevor Bauer (@BauerOutage) May 1, 2018
Bauer may face the Astros batters when Cleveland begins a three-game series on May 18 at Minute Maid Park.