This year’s World Series has not disappointed. Both the offense and pitching has been top-notch, but something interesting is how much the long ball has been hit. There have been a total of fifteen home runs hit in the past four games. This breaks the previous record of fourteen home runs through four World Series games, set back in 2002. Commissioner Rob Manfred commented on the rise in home runs back in September, and cited different techniques being taught to hitters and players being bigger and stronger overall as the cause.
Even recently, Astros’ starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel expressed his concern, saying, “I think the balls are juiced, 100%,” after Game 2 broke the record for most home runs hit in a World Series game with eight. Well, the plot continue to thicken.
Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated reported on Sunday Morning that many players and coaches, from both the Astros and Dodgers, have expressed concerns with the baseballs being used in the World Series. They reportedly feel that the baseballs are slicker, which is making it more difficult to throw specific pitches.
Here is what the pitching coaches from both the Astros and the Dodgers had to say about the problem:
We had a well-pitched game [Saturday Night] from both sides. I’m not taking anything away from the players. I just want to know why? Why in the world would the baseballs in the World Series be different? Because you can see the difference. You can feel it. I don’t understand it at all.
I know guys have been talking about the ball. I also know that MLB has been talking for a while about maybe a ball that’s more like the ball in Japan, where the leather is tackier so that you can use it right out of the wrapper. I think something has to be done.
The article goes on to site different pitchers like Yu Darvish (slider), Justin Verlander (slider), and Charlie Morton(two-seam fastball) who all said that the slicker baseballs have given them trouble with specific pitches. Verducci also includes pitchers Kenley Jansen and Ken Giles as potential victims of these slick baseballs, with both of their sliders not being as effective this postseason.
It’s different. I noticed it especially throwing a slider. It didn’t feel the same. The home run I gave up to [Joc] Pederson was a slider.
What do you think about this? Do you think there is reason to worry and, if so, what should be done? Let us know in the comments below!
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