Bob Levey/Getty ImagesAfter investigating allegations that the Houston Astros have been stealing signs during this year's postseason http://www.redsoxproshops.com/authentic-craig-kimbrel-jersey
, Major League Baseball will not fine or penalize the Astros.MLB released a statement announcing the investigation has been closed, via Mark Feinsand of MLB.com:"Before the Postseason began, a number of clubs called the Commissioner's Office about sign stealing and the inappropriate use of video equipment. The concerns expressed related to a number of Clubs, not any one specific Club. In response to these calls, the Commissioner's Office reinforced the existing rules with all playoff Clubs and undertook proactive measures, including instituting a new prohibition on the use of certain in-stadium cameras, increasing the presence of operations and security personnel from Major League Baseball at all Postseason games and instituting a program of monitoring Club video rooms."With respect to both incidents regarding a Houston Astros employee, security identified an issue, addressed it and turned the matter over to the Department of Investigations. A thorough investigation concluded that an Astros employee was monitoring the field to ensure that the opposing Club was not violating any rules. All Clubs remaining in the playoffs have been notified to refrain from these types of efforts and to direct complaints about any in-stadium rules violations to MLB staff for investigation and resolution. We consider the matter closed."Astros general manager JeffLuhnow told reporters this team was "playing defense," adding, via Daniel Gotera of KHOU-TV:Daniel Gotera DTGoteraKHOU#Astros GM Jeff Luhnow on allegations of his club stealing signs using technology: quot;I think what happens is when a team has success, there will be a lot of other people looking at them to see whats driving their successquot; eDPa73HhpgAs for the allegations, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported: "The Boston Red Sox were warned that a man credentialed by the Houston Astros might try to steal signs or information from their dugout after the Cleveland Indians caught him taking pictures of their dugout with a cellphone camera during Game 3 of the American League Division Series."However, Alex Speier and Andrew Mahoney of the Boston Globe reported that MLB's investigation discovered the Astros employee in question was trying to determine if the Red Sox "were using dugout video monitors to steal signs from the Astros" and wasn't stealing signs and relaying them to the dugout.Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski did not believe the employee's alleged actions factored into the Astros' Game 1 win againstBoston, per Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal: "It was caught early in the game. It did not cost us anything."According to Passan's report, the Los Angeles Dodgers suspected the Astros of stealing signs during last season's World Series, and the Oakland Athletics believed the Astros were stealing signs this season.He also outlined that opposing players have believed actions taken by the Astros in the dugout in the past, such as banging on trash cans or clapping before pitches, is a form of relaying stolen signs to the batter.While teams decry having their own signs stolen, it technically isn't against MLB rules."Sign-stealing is not an uncommon practice and there in fact is not a rule against it," MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in 2017, per Speier and Mahoney.It isn't ideal for the team having their signs stolen David Price Jersey
, however, and Boston manager Alex Cora commented on the recent reports of sign stealing and the precautions the team takes throughout the season."I'm always concerned about that throughout the season," he told reporters. "So I mean we do a good job changing sequences and paying attention to details. And we don't get caught up on the whole paranoia thing of the signs. We try to slow it down. If we feel there's something going on we switch signs." Major League Baseball's preeminent rivalry takes center stage for the first time in 14 years as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox meet in the American League Division Series.The Yankees, who finished eight games behind the Red Sox in the AL East, pounded the the Oakland A's 7-2 in the Wild-Card game Wednesday night. That gives the Yankees the opportunity to challenge the Red Sox yet again.The Yankees jumped on the A's in the first inning on Aaron Judge's two-run homer, and they kept the visitors from mounting a convincing rally because pitchers Luis Severino and Dellin Betances held them in check.The power arm of Dellin Betances is an excellent asset for the Yankees.Bill Kostroun/Associated Press"We wanted Boston, that鈥檚 who鈥檚 next, right?" Betances said, per Erik Boland of New York Newsday. "We were trying to win this game to get them. Obviously they鈥檙e a tremendous team, we鈥檝e battled them all year. I think everybody in baseball wants this matchup, and so do we."The Red Sox won the season series between the two teams by a slim 10-9 margin and have powerful offense led by Mookie Betts (32 home runs, 30 stolen bases) and J.D. Martinez (43 home runs, 130 RBI).However, the key for the Red Sox may be ace starting pitcher Chris Sale, who has returned from shoulder issues in the second half of the season but was not hitting his accustomed velocity in his last start.When Sale is on his game, he can shut down any lineup. However, if his arm is not healthy and he is not hitting his spots with his slider and fastball, the advantage could swing to the Yankees.Sale will start Game 1 for the Red Sox, while the Yankeees have not announced their starter. Sale had a 12-4 record with a 2.11 earned-run average and 237 strikeouts in 158.0 innings this season.The series gets underway Friday night at Fenway Park, while the Cleveland Indians and the Houston Astros meet in the other ALDS.ALDSFriday, October 5, Indians at Astros http://www.redsoxproshops.com/authentic-mookie-betts-jersey
, Game 1, TBS, 2:05 p.m.Friday, October 5, Yankees at Red Sox, Game 1, TBS, 7:32 p.m.Saturday, October 6, Indians at Astros, Game 2, TBS, 4:37 p.m.Saturday, October 6 Yankees at Red Sox, Game 2, TBS, 8:15 p.m.Monday, October 8, Red Sox at Yankees, Game 3, TBS, TBDMonday Brock Holt Jersey
, October 8, Astros at Indians, Game 3, TBS, TBDTuesday, October 9, Red Sox at Yankees, Game 4*, TBS, TBDTuesday, October 9, Astros at Indians, Game 4*, TBS, TBDThursday, October 11, Yankees at Red Sox, Game 5*, TBS, TBDThursday, October 11, Indians at Astros http://www.redsoxproshops.com/authentic-rusney-castillo-jersey
, Game 5*, TBS, TBD*If necessaryAll postseason games can be live-streamed atMLB.TV.Francisco Lindor can be a dominant player for the Indians.Tom E. Puskar/Associated PressIn nearly any other season, the Cleveland-Houston matchup would headline the start of the postseason.These two teams represented the American League in the last two World Series, and both are loaded with talent.Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and Edwin Encarnacion anchor the middle of the formidable Cleveland lineup, as they combined for 109 home runs this season. In addition to that trio, the Indians added third baseman Josh Donaldson at the trade deadline. While his season was devastated by injuries and he played just 16 games, he appears healthy now and his home run power could be a key factor in the series.Cleveland ace Corey Kluber had a brilliant season with a 20-7 record, 222 strikeouts and a 2.89 earned-run average, and fellow startersMike Clevinger, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer are solid.The Astros were not as dominant in the regular season as they were in 2017, but the defending World Series champions have a relentless lineup led by Alex Bregman (31 home runs), George Springer (102 runs scored) and Jose Altuve (.315 batting average and 84 runs scored).Justin Verlander is the ace of the Houston pitching staff, butDallas Keuchel, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton give this team excellent depth among the starters. Verlander had a16-9 record, 290 strikeouts and a 2.52 ERA during the regular season.Kluber and Verlander will matchup in Game 1 of the series.The postseason almost inevitably builds to a crescendo in the World Series, but it may be hard to top the quality of the teams in the two American League Division Series.