Sports betting predicts many retaliation against Astros Batters this season.
After the Astros scandal of sign theft, bookmakers like William Hill are betting on how often Houston Batters get hit by parking spaces during the regular season. The over-under is currently 83.5 (both options -110), which is an average of slightly more than once in every second game.
As a reference, the Astros were hit by opposing pitchers 66 times last season. The league average was 66.1 and in the last five seasons only nine teams have reached the 83 mark, according to ESPN Stats and Information. The Cleveland Indians were hit 103 times in 2008, a new record.
William Hill also offers odds in the range of 81-90 Astros HBPs at +300. Between 141-150, 250 to 1 and 0-50 20 to 1 are paid.
"I have to rely on the league to try to put an end to this seemingly premeditated retribution I'm hearing," Houston manager Dusty Baker told reporters on Saturday.
Commissioner Rob Manfred admitted that Houston players may be disproportionately attacked by opposing teams and will issue a warning to the teams this week.
"I hope I made it very clear to them that retaliatory measures in the game will not be tolerated by deliberately throwing them at a batsman, whether it is Houston or someone else," Manfred told ESPN. "It is dangerous and not helpful for the current situation."
Manfred said MLB plans to rethink disciplinary measures to intentionally hit thugs that are separated from the fiasco of theft of signs.
"We have been working on a memorandum for some time about how to get hit by pitches and how to intentionally throw Batters," said Manfred. "It's really dangerous, really dangerous, and regardless of the Astros investigation we're going to publish earlier this week, a hit memorandum that will increase the impact of this kind of behavior."