Yankees, Astros Address “Dead” Playoff Baseballs

"There were a couple that were hit well that you kind of scratch your head at."

Josh Reddick of the Houston Astros watches a home run hit by Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees (not pictured) during the eighth inning in game three of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Josh Reddick of the Houston Astros watches a home run hit by Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees (not pictured) during the eighth inning in game three of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 15, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / October 16, 2019 10:30 am

After a record number of home runs in the regular season prompted discussions of juiced baseballs, fans and players have noticed that the balls used in the postseason seem to be less lively, traveling shorter distances off the bat than expected.

After the Yankees’ 4-1 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the ALCS, both teams were asked about the dead balls. Yankees reliever Chad Green said he noticed a difference but isn’t too concerned about it. “There were a couple that were hit well that you kind of scratch your head at that you’d think would have left the ballpark maybe during the season,” he told reporters. “I don’t think you really worry about it.”

“Off the bat — first off, I think every fly ball in 2019 is a homer,” Astros managaer A.J. Hinch said. “In season, regular season, postseason, I don’t care. It’s kind of been conditioned that way.”

Astros starter Gerrit Cole, who gave up a long fly ball to Didi Gregorius that just barely missed going out in the fifth inning, wouldn’t say whether he thought the dead baseballs were to blame. “I don’t know if it was the ball or if it was the wind,” he said. “It was a little chilly tonight.”

Right fielder Josh Reddick, who caught the Gregorius blast, was hesitant to weigh in on the topic. When asked if he thought the ball was a factor, he said “not really, no,” adding, “I know we have all this stuff about juiced baseballs, but that’s a whole other argument I’m not even going to get into the topic of.”

The Astros and Yankees will face off in Game 4 of the ALCS tonight (Oct. 16) at 8 p.m. EST.

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