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Houston vs Los Angeles
Justin Verlander is convinced: Baseballs are slicker.
Rich Hill isn’t so sure.
With home runs soaring to record levels during the regular season and the World Series, juiced balls are on pitchers’ minds.
“The main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason, and even from the postseason to the World Series balls,” Verlander said Sunday, two days ahead of his start for the Houston Astros in Game 6. “They’re a little slick. You just deal with it. But I don’t think it’s the case of one pitcher saying, ‘Hey, something is different here.’ I think as a whole, everybody is saying, ‘Whoa, something is a little off here.’”
Speculation that something is amiss has been fueled by a study claiming to have found differences in the size and seam height of balls since the 2015 All-Star break.
“I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it’s been consistent,” said Hill, who will start Game 6 for the Dodgers. “I think that just has to do with conditions — if it’s colder it’s going to be slicker. If it’s a little bit warmer out or humid, I think you’re going to find that you’re going to have a little bit more of moisture to the baseballs.”
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred insists nothing nefarious is going on.
“I’m absolutely confident that the balls that we’re using are within our established specifications,” he said Friday.
Verlander rejected that assertion.