The baseballs used in the course of the World Collection are slicker than those used in the course of the common season, pitchers and coaches from the Dodgers and Astros mentioned Saturday evening. The distinction, they informed Sports activities Illustrated, is within the grain of the leather-based, making it significantly troublesome to throw an excellent slider.
“We had a well-pitched sport [Saturday night] from either side,” Astros pitching coach Brent Strom informed SI, after shedding to the Dodgers 6-2 in Sport four. “Why on this planet would the baseballs within the World Collection be totally different? As a result of you’ll be able to see the distinction. You’ll be able to really feel it. I do not perceive it in any respect.”
The World Collection balls are examined throughout manufacturing and comprised of the identical supplies as baseballs within the common season, MLB senior vp of baseball operations Peter Woodfork informed SI. “The one distinction is the gold stamping on the baseballs,” he mentioned. Blue ink is used in the course of the common season.
An MLB supply informed SI that the way in which the baseballs had been handled with pregame rubbing mud earlier than Sport four might be the rationale for the perceived distinction.
Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt informed SI that Sport three starter Yu Darvish “observed the distinction.”
“He informed me the balls had been slicker and he had hbadle throwing the slider due to how slick they had been. He wasn’t capable of throw his slider the identical approach.”
In accordance with SI, Cleveland Indians employees members mentioned in the course of the ALDS that the balls felt totally different than the regular-season balls. As with the World Collection balls, LDS and LCS balls are additionally stamped with totally different ink and logos.
Astros Sport four starter Charlie Morton informed SI that pitcher Lance McCullers took a “blindfold check” and “might inform which ball was which along with his eyes closed. It is that totally different.”
“The World Collection ball is slicker,” mentioned Astros pitcher Justin Verlander. “I observed it particularly throwing a slider. It did not really feel the identical. The house run I gave as much as [Joc] Pederson was a slider.”
Verlander threw 17 sliders in Sport 2 and bought just one swing and a miss — the fewest swings and misses on his slider in his 36 begins this 12 months of greater than two innings.
Darvish lasted 1⅔ innings in Sport three. He threw 14 sliders and did not get one swing and a miss, for the primary time in 34 begins this 12 months.
Astros right-hander Ken Giles is having the toughest time along with his slider. Through the season, he threw a slider 47 % of the time, holding batters to a .133 common. However in the course of the postseason, Giles solely threw two sliders — each balls — amongst his eight Sport four pitches. Giles threw his slider out of the strike zone 51 % of the time in the course of the common season, however within the postseason, he has missed 74 % of the time.
“I do know guys have been speaking concerning the ball,” Honeycutt mentioned. “I additionally know that MLB has been speaking for some time about possibly a ball that is extra just like the ball in Japan, the place the leather-based is tackier so that you could use it proper out of the wrapper. I believe one thing needs to be performed.”
The speed of residence runs has risen 35 % within the World Collection, after an everyday season that set a report with essentially the most residence runs of all time (6,105). Fifteen residence runs have been hit thus far on this World Collection. Of the earlier 112 World Collection, solely eight had extra.
Sport 5 is Sunday evening at Houston, with the collection tied 2-2.