All-star pitcher Justin Verlander accused Major League Baseball of juicing baseballs to help players hit more home runs. But according to one of the most feared sluggers in MLB history, “pitching isn’t what it used to be.”
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“I think pitching is not what it used to be and, you know, guys get a better chance at hitting home runs when your pitching is not as well as you’re used to it being,” said Darryl Strawberry to FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Tuesday. “What I mean by that is you have No. 1 and No. 2 starter,” he added.
“I think back in the days when I was starting, you had a rotation of five guys that were pretty good that could be your No. 1 starter – I think when you get to the No. 3 and No. 4 or No. 5 in the rotation it’s not as good and I don’t think bullpens are really good so, you know, you had guys coming out of the bullpen that could really close hitters down, but I don’t see a lot of that,” he explained.
Strawberry hit 335 home runs during his 17-year career.
He also believes a lot of ballparks are smaller and “guys are a lot stronger” than what they used to be.
However, when Varney asked whether performance-enhancing drugs could be playing a role, he responded: “I don’t think that’s the case.”
“I think testing has done real well for Major League Baseball. Major League Baseball is very strict about testing players. I don’t think that’s the case. I think guys are a lot stronger and ballparks are a lot smaller than they used to be. When you go to some of the different cities ballparks are not as big as they used to be and players have a better chance at hitting home runs.”
Players smashed 3,691 home runs so far this season and are on pace to hit 6,668 home runs — more than the record of 6,105 set in 2017.
Verlander has given up an MLB-high 26 home runs so far this season.