(WXYZ) — Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander is not holding back his thoughts on Major League Baseball this season, saying he believes the league is juicing baseballs to increase offense.
In an interview with ESPN's Jeff Passan at the All Star Game in Cleveland, Verlander said that balls used in games this season are "a f***ing joke."
According to ESPN, Verlander has given up 26 home runs this season, which is the most in the league, and players are on pace to hit 6,668 home runs this season in all, more than 500 more than the record set in 2017.
"Major League Baseball is turning this game into a joke," Verlander told Passan. "They own Rawlings, and you've got (Commissioner) Manfred up here saying it might be the way they center the pill. They own the f***ing company."
According to Passan, there have been conversations about a possible juiced ball since the 2015 All Star game, where home runs increased. Passan reports that they have increased nearly 60 percent from the 2014 season.
ESPN reports that Manfred and the league had a study done and found that balls were performing differently, but it didn't give a reason for why they were. Then, ESPN reports that MLB bought Rawlings, the company that supplies MLB balls, in June 2018.