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Heath Hembree: MLB has changed baseballs in postseason

Rob Bradford
October 22, 2018 - 6:02 pm

Last year much was made of how different the baseballs used in the World Series were compared to the ones used in the games leading up to the postseason's final round. It was determined that the ones used in the Fall Classic were slicker than normal, making it difficult for the pitchers to obtain their usual spin.

Well, we might have a problem this year as well.

According to Red Sox reliever Heath Hembree, the baseballs used in the postseason to date have been noticeably different than the balls used in the regular season.

"One hundred percent," Hembree told WEEI.com Monday. "As soon as the regular season ended and they gave us the postseason balls, and we had regular season balls and postseason balls mixed in, they were completely different."

Hembree contends that the Red Sox' pitchers noticed the postseason baseballs were slightly smaller, with the feeling of being wound harder than normal.

"We play 162 games, spring training, so we’re dealing with these balls every day so we know them really well," Hembree said. "As soon as they try and switch something up you’re able to tell. They feel smaller in the hand and they are definitely harder. It just feels tighter. It doesn’t mess up your pitching, just don’t let them barrel it."

Numerous other members of the Red Sox pitching staff were asked if they noticed a difference. The responses were either vague or the pitchers flat-out denied noticing a change in the baseballs.

WEEI.com obtained a regular season baseball and postseason baseball, and while it was difficult to decipher if one was firmer than the other, the postseason ball was smaller by the length of one of its 108 stitches.

"Among all of us when we first got the balls we were like, ‘Wow!’ I just remember the conversation as soon as they brought the balls out and we picked them up," Hembree said. "Nobody is trying to even hide anything."