Red Sox reliever Kenley Jansen criticizes quality of ’embarrassing’ baseballs

Boston Red Sox reliever Kenley Jansen picked up his fourth save of the season on Sunday, closing out a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

The save was No. 424 in Jansen’s 15-year MLB career, tying him for fifth all-time with John Franco.

Yet in the postgame clubhouse, Jansen didn’t want to talk about his career accomplishments or Mike Trout’s takedown for the game’s final takedown. What concerned him most was the condition of the baseballs he and his peers played with.

“I don’t know. I just hope we can get better quality balls. That’s all I’m saying. It’s embarrassing,” he told reporters, including WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

“Of course pitchers can’t use illegal products. Great, I agree. But rub the balls. I understand we’re trying to favor hitters more now to create offense. We all understand. You can’t choose anymore. You have I have to throw with the clock We all understand But at least give us good balls, quality balls, to throw strikes.

Jansen appeared to struggle with his control Sunday, throwing 11 of his 25 pitches for balls. He let the first three batters he faced reach base, hitting Logan O’Hoppe, allowing a bloop single to Mickey Moniak and walking Zach Neto.

“If you’re playing in cold, windy weather, and you’re getting some beads that aren’t rubbed well,” Jansen told MassLive’s Sean McAdam, “I don’t know where the ball is going. I’m not hitting guys. I don’t walk people around a lot.

“I started to get frustrated and angry enough that at some point I just didn’t care. Every ball that came in, I’d throw it back until I found a good ball. It’s just brutal.”

Jansen’s complaint is the second public complaint about the condition of MLB baseballs this season. Earlier this month, Tampa Bay Rays closer Pete Fairbanks disparaged the quality of the balls after walking three straight batters in a loss to the Colorado Rockies.

“They weren’t consistent from ball to ball. They were horrible,” Fairbanks told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “You can write that down in all caps for me – horrible.”

Baseballs used at Colorado’s Coors Field have been stored in a humidor since 2002 to prevent them from drying out in Denver’s higher altitude. Rockies general manager Bill Schmidt responded to Fairbanks’ complaints by saying that MLB oversees the baseballs, not the team.

Jansen said his Red Sox teammates had similar complaints, although they did not state them publicly.

“I just feel like the league can do better. That’s all I’m saying,” Jansen said via NESN’s Sean T. McGuire. “Just rub the ball good. It sucks. I don’t want to be the guy that keeps throwing the ball. I have a unique pitch – it’s a cutter. And if the ball looks d ‘Be a pearl, I don’t have to do anything.’ take the bag of rosin, it’s not like before. That’s all I’m saying.

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