Astros Pitcher: Is MLB 'Juicing' the Baseballs?

(106.7 The Fan) -- Monday night's Home Run Derby featured a record-setting display, with Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. blasting 91 homers, 30 more than the previous high for a single derby.

And in 2019, record-setting home run numbers are the new normal.

MLB players are on pace to hit 6,668 home runs this season, shattering the single-season record by more than 500 dingers. And according to Astros pitcher Justin Verlander and others, the balls themselves are part of the reason for this power spike.

"It's a f---ing joke," Verlander told reporters Monday ahead of Tuesday's All-Star Game. "Major League Baseball's turning this game into a joke. They own Rawlings, and you've got (MLB commissioner Rob) Manfred up here saying it might be the way they center the pill. They own the f---ing company. If any other $40 billion company bought out a $400 million company and the product changed dramatically, it's not a guess as to what happened. We all know what happened."

"Manfred the first time he came in, what'd he say? He said we want more offense. All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced? It's not coincidence. We're not idiots."

"Major League Baseball owns Rawlings? That is quite a wrinkle," John "Cakes" Auville of The Sports Junkies said Tuesday. "Major League Baseball controls the product, they're definitely juiced. I believe Verlander 1,000 percent."

"I don't know if it's any different from last year, but this year the threads on the baseball aren't as high, so there's less drag on the ball," Jason Bishop explained. "They're setting ridiculous home run numbers."

"They're using the same ball at the Triple-A level ... and those numbers are breaking records."

But for some like JP Flaim, juiced baseballs aren't an issue.

"I don't have a problem with it," said Flaim. "I'd rather see offense."

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