Buzz on about juiced base­balls

The Prince George Citizen - - SPORTS -

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.

AP PHOTO

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.

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