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Dodgers, Astros complain about special World Series baseballs

Larry Brown Sports logo Larry Brown Sports 10/29/2017 Grey Papke
Well, if both sides are complaining, maybe the baseballs are a legitimate concern. © Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports Well, if both sides are complaining, maybe the baseballs are a legitimate concern.

The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers agree that there’s something different about the baseballs being used during the World Series.

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated talked to several players and coaches, and he examined the baseballs himself — and all indications are that the World Series baseball is slicker than regular season baseballs, which impacts pitchers’ grips.

In particular, players say it’s harder to throw a slider with the slicker baseballs, and that the differences are obvious.

“We had a well-pitched game tonight from both sides,” Astros pitching coach Brent Strom said Game 4. “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.”

Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said pitcher Yu Darvish, who didn’t make it out of the second inning of Game 3, noticed a clear difference as well.

“Yu noticed the difference,” Honeycutt said. “He told me the balls were slicker and he had trouble throwing the slider because of how slick they were. He wasn’t able to throw his slider the same way.”

“Lance McCullers took the blindfold test in the bullpen,” Astros starter Charlie Morton said. “He could tell which ball was which with his eyes closed. It’s that different.”

MLB has denied that there is anything different about the baseballs aside from the stamping being gold instead of blue.

This is far from the first time someone has complained about the baseballs this season, as the league has faced many allegations that they’ve changed things up to favor hitters. The slider grip matters particularly to the aforementioned Darvish, as well as Houston closer Ken Giles, who is particularly reliant on throwing a good slider — and has struggled enormously throughout the postseason.

Related slideshow: Best of the World Series (Provided by photo services)


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