Yankees, Astros respond to playoff-ball controversy

New York Post Sports 1 day ago

HOUSTON — A recent report indicated baseballs aren’t going as far in the postseason as they did in the regular season, when record home run numbers were produced.

And the Cardinals said Saturday their analytics were specific about the balls lacking distance.

Asked about that before Game 1 of the ALCS between the Yankees and Astros on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, Aaron Boone wasn’t aware of the report.

“I hadn’t heard anything, so I am going to ask our guys what we’ve got,’’ Boone said. “There may be a couple of balls in Minnesota that seemed like maybe they could have gone a little further. Whether that is the cool weather, those kind of things, I don’t know. I am just hearing about this now, I don’t know what to make of it.’’

Astros manager A.J. Hinch was indifferent to the issue.

“I’m sure there are a couple of balls across the way, across these games, that, man, that looked like that should leave compared to the season,’’ Hinch said. “But the conspiracy of the ball, I’m so far away from caring about that. I want to try to win games. I hope every ball the Yankees hit is deflated and we get to catch it at the warning track. I don’t have a lot of time to spend on the difference of the ball.’’

Astros Game 2 starter Justin Verlander spoke in July about the baseball being different this season than in years past, and leading to record home run numbers.

Verlander was asked about the report Saturday.

“I haven’t personally noticed it. I haven’t really talked to guys about it, especially because when all those reports came back, it was right before Game 5, and I didn’t want the hitters to be talking about that; they had other things on their mind,’’ Verlander said. “I think MLB just came out with a report they haven’t changed, right? I guess we’ve got to believe that, right? I don’t know. Who knows?”

Verlander says the players should have a say in any alterations to the baseballs. Pitchers have complained this year the stitches on the ball are lower than in the past.

“I think that the players should be involved if the ball is going to change. Who knows if they are or are not? But at the end of the day, we are all using the same baseball when we step on the field,’’ Verlander said. “As long as it’s an even playing field at this point in the game, that’s all we can ask for.’’

The roster submitted by the Astros to MLB on Saturday had a dozen pitchers on it. None threw with his left arm.

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