With pitchers and catchers reporting this week, it's a safe bet that myriad players will be asked about the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal. It's an even safer bet that players on teams directly impacted by the Astros' technological misconduct -- namely, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers -- will be quizzed on the matter.
Sure enough, Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka was asked on Monday if he agreed with some of his teammates that the Astros cheated the Yankees out of the 2017 World Series. To that, Tanaka said,"I do feel that way, yeah," according to Eric Boland of Newsday.
For those with short memories: the Yankees played the Astros in the 2017 American League Championship Series. The Yankees stormed back from a 2-0 deficit in the best-of-seven series to take a 3-2 lead before dropping Games 6 and 7. The Yankees lost all four games of that series played in Houston, and were outscored by a 15-3 margin in those contests.
Obviously there's no way of knowing how much the Astros' cheating impacted the series outcome. All the same, you can understand why Tanaka would feel the way he does: the Yankees lost two of those four games by a single run. It's at least possible that Houston's technological misconduct contributed to either or both of their victories in those games. If the Yankees had won just one of the two, they would've advanced to play the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tanaka isn't the first (and likely won't be the last) member of those Yankees teams to voice this sentiment, either. Back in mid-January, CC Sabathia conceded he was "getting frustrated" thinking about how the Astros' (and, potentially, Red Sox's) cheating may have prevented the Yankees from winning the 2017 or 2018 World Series.