TAMPA, Fla. — Aroldis Chapman called Jose Altuve’s actions “suspicious,” but he didn’t outright accuse him of having an illegal advantage when Altuve hit his walk-off homer off Chapman to end Game 6 of last season’s American League Championship Series and put the Astros in the World Series.
And, ultimately, Chapman said, he bears responsibility for the hanging 2-and-1 slider that Altuve blasted to left-center.
“There’s a lot of speculation about it,” Chapman said through his interpreter Thursday morning. “A lot of people have many different opinions about it. At the end of the day, I assume responsibility for how the events developed. I gave up the homer and we lost and that’s the bottom line. I was the pitcher on the mound and I was the guy facing Altuve.”
The speculation, of course, is that Altuve was wearing a wire of some kind that allowed him to get the signs in real time. Altuve’s actions afterward lent credence to that speculation; as he reached home plate, he instructed his celebrating teammates not to tear at his jersey and even clutched at it.
“I’ve seen that video. I think a lot of people have seen that video. It’s a popular video right now,” Chapman said with a half-smile. “And yeah, if you look at his actions, they look a little suspicious, right? But at the end of the day, I just don’t know.”
The lefthander also echoed some of his teammates from the 2017 team — CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka most prominently — who have said they felt “cheated” out of a World Series.
“Yeah, I believe so, too,” Chapman said. “It [the best-of-seven ALCS won by the Astros] was very close. With everything, all the details that have come out, I think it [the illegal sign-stealing] was the extra edge that allowed them to move on.”
Chapman said he did appreciate the comments made by former Astro Marwin Gonzalez, now with the Twins, who told reporters on Wednesday: “I’m remorseful for everything that happened in 2017, for everything that we did as a group, and for the players that were affected directly by us doing this.”
Chapman said he hopes to hear more Astros, current ones especially, follow suit.
“For Marwin to take that step, takes a lot to come out and apologize to everybody publicly,” Chapman said. “It takes courage to do that. That’s an example for all of those guys. I think they [Astros players] should follow his steps. At the end of the day, you really have to apologize to the fans.”