There appears to be a ball controversy in the World Series.
Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers are convinced the balls being used in this year's World Series are giving hitters a distinct advantage.
"The World Series ball is slicker," Astros right-hander Justin Verlander told Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci. "No doubt. I'm telling you, we're in here signing (World Series) balls before the game, and it's hard to get the ink on the ball sometimes. You know when you sign a receipt at Starbucks, and if you don't hold the paper down with your hand, the pen just slides across the paper and the ink doesn't stick to it? That's what it's like sometimes trying to sign these balls. That's how slick the leather is... It's different. I noticed it especially throwing a slider. It didn't feel the same."
Dodgers righty Yu Darvish, who was shelled for four runs on six hits in his shortest career start in Game 3 (1 2/3 innings), verified Verlander's exact claim.
"I had trouble with the ball throwing a slider," he told Verducci. "It was slicker."
Both lineups are loaded with power and effectively feast on fastballs. Taking away a pitcher's ability to grip the ball in order to throw offspeed pitches is just part of Major League Baseball's plan to entertain fans, according to Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel.
"I think the balls are juiced, 100 percent," the former Cy Young Award winner told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. "MLB wants to put on a show."
The teams combined for a World Series-record eight home runs in Game 2 - a 7-6 Astros victory in 11 innings. There's been an average of 8.25 runs per game through the first four contests of the Fall Classic.
The best-of-seven series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 going Sunday night in Houston. The series will then shift to L.A. for Game 6 and Game 7, if necessary.