- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Houston Astros star Justin Verlander unloaded on MLB over the surge of home runs — accusing the league of “juicing” the ball.

In an interview with ESPN, the 2011 Cy Young winner said he “100%” believes the league intentionally juiced the ball in order to produce more offense. Verlander has had a solid season, but leads the majors in home runs allowed with 26. 

MLB is on pace to obliterate its record for most home runs in a season.  

Verlander, who is set to start Tuesday’s All-Star Game for the American League, called the surge a “[expletive] joke.”

Major League Baseball’s turning this game into a joke,” Verlander said. “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.”

MLB purchased Rawlings, the supplier of the league’s baseballs, last year. In an interview with Newsday, Manfred said “the pill” — or the core of the baseball — has less drag in this year’s batch of baseballs. 

Home runs, per ESPN, are up 60% in MLB since 2014.

“They’ve been using juiced balls in the Home Run Derby forever,” Verlander said. “They know how to do it. It’s not coincidence. I find it really hard to believe that Major League Baseball owns Rawlings and just coincidentally the balls become juiced.”

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