Buzz on about juiced baseballs
HOUSTON — Home runs kept flying over the wall at Minute Maid Park, on line drives up toward the train tracks, on fly balls that just dropped over the fence.
Seven more were hit in Game 5, raising the total to a World Series record 22 – with two possible more games to play. Twentyfive runs were scored in a game started by the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel, Cy Young Award winners regarded as among baseball’s best.
After a season when sluggers outpaced even their steroid-era predecessors for home runs, some are convinced that something is amiss with the baseballs.
“The main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the post-season, and even from the post-season to the World Series balls,” Justin Verlander said Sunday, two days before he takes the mound in Game 6 and tries to pitch the Astros to their first title. “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.”’
A record eight home runs were hit in Game 2, including five in extra innings, and Game 5’s seven long balls would have tied the old mark. The 13-12, 10-inning Astros’ win Sunday night was the second-highest scoring game in Series history.
Keuchel was quoted as saying after Game 2: “Obviously, the balls are juiced.”
Not so obvious to everyone, even amid the power surge.
“I haven’t personally noticed anything. I haven’t tried to think about it either,” Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow said after giving up two homers in Game 5. “It’s not something you want to put in your own head.”
Same for Kershaw, even after giving up his record eighth homer of the post-season Sunday.
“I don’t really pay attention to it,” Kershaw said. “I just assume that both sides are dealing with it, so I’m not going to worry about it.”
This year’s long ball assault topped the 21 of the 2002 Series. Anaheim hit seven and Barry Bonds and his San Francisco Giants slugged 14 over seven games. That was the year before survey drug testing.
Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros belts a two-run home run off Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Brandon Morrow during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night in Houston.