The Yankees were reportedly "absolutely convinced" RHP Luis Severino tipped his pitches in 2018, most notably in Game 3 of the ALDS.
There seems to be some video that backs up that claim.
Severino's arm slot did not changed based on the pitches he threw, per USA TODAY's Andrew Joseph. However, when he got into the set position, his hands rested higher up on his belt for fastballs than it did on his off-speed pitches.
"Two tells for Severino, it's amazing -- the glance toward third [base] and the position where he had his hands out of the stretch," former Yankees catcher and current YES Network analyst John Flaherty said. "That's a huge advantage for opposing lineups."
In Game 3, Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. could be seen mouthing the word "fastball" on a pitch that Brock Holt fouled off.
.@LouMerloni just nailed it. Red Sox had a beat on what was coming as early as the second inning. JBJ says "Fastball..." to Mookie before an 0-2 pitch to Holt, Severino pumps in 98 MPH fastball that Holt fouls away. pic.twitter.com/wLGR5dVDys- Dan O'Mara (@Dan_OMara) October 9, 2018
That game, Severino got shelled for six runs and seven hits in three-plus innings as the Yankees lost to the Red Sox 16-1 and eventually lost the series in four games.
But he had struggled immensely in the second half. While he went 14-2 with a 2.31 ERA in the first half, he went 5-6 with a 5.57 ERA after the All-Star break.
The problem didn't stem from velocity, FanGraphs.com suggests. His average fastball on Opening Day was 97.9 mph, and in his last regular-season start, it was 97.3 mph. His average fastball in Game 3 was 96.95 mph, according to Brooks Baseball.
His slider in March (87.6 mph) was actually slower than it was in September (88.2 mph).
Flaherty said tipping pitches is a constant concern for pitchers, however it takes a back seat when it comes to a game because pitchers oftentimes focus more on the situation at hand.
"These pitchers are paranoid about tipping pitches and they're trying to correct it," Flaherty said. "So the question is: Why didn't the Yankees figure this out? Why weren't they on this? ... Sometimes even when you know what it is and you tell a guy like Severino, 'This is what you're doing,' you get in the game action, the adrenaline gets going, and you get back to your habits."
As a former catcher, Flaherty said he was not able to determine if a pitcher was tipping pitches during a game.
"He's thinking about making a big pitch in a big moment," he said. "I think about it from a catcher's perspective. I could never look out at my pitcher and pick up any tells he was giving. I was so concerned with game plan, calling a game and trying to get him on the right page."
After Game 3, manager Aaron Boone didn't say if Severino was tipping his pitches, but rather said he thought Severino simply didn't bring his best performance.
"I didn't think he was overly sharp from the get-go," Boone said. "I thought stuff-wise he was OK. ... I thought the Red Sox did a really nice job of laying off close pitches, so they didn't expand much at all in those early innings against him, so that kind of hurt him a little bit."
He later said he "probably got greedy" trying to stretch Severino into the fourth inning of that game, when he allowed all three batters he faced to reach before paving way to Lance Lynn.
"He came out and struggled and it snowballed," Boone said.