Former Chicago Cubs pitcher says the Houston Astros are still cheating

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

It wouldn’t be October without someone leveling cheating accusations at the Houston Astros, who are just one game from eliminating the White Sox from postseason play. This time, it’s former Chicago Cubs reliever Ryan Tepera making the claims after the Sox staved off elimination with a big Game 3 win at home on Sunday.

"“They’ve obviously had a reputation of doing some sketchy stuff over there,” Tepera said. “It’s just, we can say that it’s a little bit of a difference. I think you saw the swings and misses [Sunday] compared to the first two games at Minute Maid. But that’s not really the story, you know? We come here to play. We’re going to compete. We’re not going to worry about what they’re going to do.”"

In the first two games of the series, the Astros decimated White Sox pitching – tallying 15 runs in back-to-back wins in Houston. But in Game 3 on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field, Houston mustered just six hits (although they admittedly still scored a half-dozen runs), striking out 16 times in the loss.

Tepera, who joined the Sox in a trade deadline deal with the Cubs, tossed a pair of scoreless innings in the Chicago victory, striking out three. To say Houston manager Dusty Baker was unhappy with the veteran’s comments is putting things mildly.

"“Those are heavy accusations,” Baker said. “We’re about the same [at home] in runs, OPS and everything as we are [on the road]. Well, actually, better on the road than we are at home. And then I think they’re actually better at home than they are on the road.”"

Baker, who managed the Cubs from 2003 to 2006 and had them five outs away from the World Series in his first season at the helm, pointed out the fact his team, by most measures, was actually better away from Minute Maid Park this season. No matter what side of the fence you’re on in this suddenly heated series, one thing’s for sure: emotions will be at redline levels heading into Game 4 on Tuesday.

Former Chicago Cubs involved on all sides of White Sox-Astros showdown

For the White Sox, they have to win to force a winner-take-all contest later this week. Houston, meanwhile, is doing everything it can to move past the sign-stealing scandal that marred their 2017 World Series championship, which was the franchise’s first title.

If you want to stretch out the Cubs connections here even more (as if Tepera and Baker weren’t already enough), Astros catcher Martin Maldonado tossed his hat in the ring in the back-and-forth with a pointed tweet on Monday afternoon. Of course, Maldonado appeared in four games with Chicago during the 2019 season.

Next. Will Anthony Rizzo have to settle for a two-year deal?. dark

So while the Chicago Cubs may not be playing in the postseason this year, there are plenty of familiar faces at play across baseball and, more specifically, in this high stakes showdown between the White Sox and Astros.