World Series home run fest has some wondering if balls are juiced

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- This World Series between the Dodgers and Astros has already featured a record-setting barrage of home runs and there are still one or - Los Angeles fans hope - two games left to play.

The two teams have hit a combined 22 home runs in just five games - breaking the record of 21 by the Angels and Giants in 2002 set over seven games.

That has left many players and fans to speculate on whether the baseballs used in the World Series are "juiced."

Some pitchers have been saying the balls feel slicker, making it harder to throw sliders.

Others noted the weather conditions, particularly the Los Angeles heat wave for the first two games, helped the balls fly farther in the warmer air.

Justin Verlander, who pitches for the Astros in Tuesday's Game 6 at Dodger Stadium, said the balls do feel slicker and even feel different than the balls used in the other postseason series.

"The main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason, and even from the postseason to the World Series balls," Verlander said Sunday

"They're a little slick. You just deal with it. But I don't think it's the case of one pitcher saying, 'Hey, something is different here.' I think as a whole, everybody is saying, 'Whoa, something is a little off here.'"

Rich Hill, who pitches for the Dodgers Tuesday, isn't so sure the balls are that different. He thinks it may just be due to weather conditions.

"I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it's been consistent," Hill said. "I think that just has to do with conditions - if it's colder it's going to be slicker. If it's a little bit warmer out or humid, I think you're going to find that you're going to have a little bit more of moisture to the baseballs."

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred insists nothing nefarious is going on.

"I'm absolutely confident that the balls that we're using are within our established specifications," he said Friday.

The Astros now lead the series 3-2. But Houston manager A.J. Hinch said the team knows better than to become overconfident because of his own team's history - the Astros were down 3-2 to the Yankees in this year's American League Championship Series before returning home to Houston and taking the final two games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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