The baseballs used during the World Series are slicker than the ones used during the regular season, pitchers and coaches from the Dodgers and Astrossaid Saturday night. The difference, they told Sports Illustrated, is in the grain of the leather, making it particularly difficult to throw a good slider.
Four games into the 2017 World Series, home runs are flying out at historic rates. Pitchers from both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astroshave attributed that to what they’re calling “slicker” balls provided by Major League Baseball for the Fall Classic.
With ace Clayton Kershaw set to start here on Sunday against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5, the Dodgers will like their chances of taking a series lead back to Los Angeles.
Giles did not record an out and was charged with three earned runs on two hits. The 27-year-old, who had 34 saves and a 2.30 ERA in the regular season, has given up 10 earned runs in 7.2 innings this postseason, and has conceded at least one run in six of his seven appearances.
Earlier, Houston had a 3-1 series advantage in their sights. The Dodgers’ Alex Wood carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, when a George Springer home run broke a scoreless game.
Wood spun and crouched on the mound as the ball flew over the left-field wall. It was a cruel end to a stellar effort: just like that, Roberts walked out to relieve him of his duties. Wood had issued only two walks.
This was a vastly different occasion, also contrasting with the slugfest in Game 5, as the two starting pitchers bamboozled hitters until late in the night. Morton at last faced sustained pressure in the sixth after hitting Barnes with a pitch to start the inning. An Enrique Hernandez hit to centre field led to runners on corners with one out. But in another bad baserunning call, Barnes was easily tagged out by catcher Brian McCann when trying to reach home plate from third base, and Seager flied out to end the inning.
After a contrite statement in which he said his behaviour was “indefensible”, and a generous reaction from Darvish, who forgave the 33-year-old and said he hoped the incident will be a learning experience, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Gurriel – who played in Japan in 2014 – for the first five games of the 2018 season.