Red Sox Closer Kenley Jansen Calls Out MLB Over 'Embarrassing' Quality of Baseballs

Apr 14, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) throws
Apr 14, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) throws / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Kenley Jansen notched a save, the 424th of his career, during Sunday's 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park, though the veteran closer was far from pleased with the result.

Jansen, whose ninth inning performance included a hit batsmen, a base hit, a walk and a sacrifice fly before a pair of strikeouts ended the game, told reporters after the contest that he felt as if he didn't have control over the baseball due to its quality- or lack thereof.

"I got to get better, but also if you’re playing in the cold weather, windy, and you get pearls balls out there that’s not rubbed well, I don’t know where the ball’s going," Jansen said, according to Maureen Mullen of the Associated Press.

Jansen called the baseballs "embarrassing," adding that this is not the first time he's noticed the slickness of the game balls in the early parts of the 2024 season.

MLB announced prohibitions, including ejections and suspensions, on the use of sticky substances, which had allowed pitchers to better grip the ball, in June of 2021. Two years later, the league implemented a pitch clock to speed up game times.

Could these rules be adversely affecting the performance of Jansen and other pitchers? For Jansen, at least numbers-wise, that doesn't seem to be the case.

But MLB may have a problem on its hands if more pitchers begin to complain about the quality of baseballs.

Tim Capurso


Tim Capurso is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Previously he wrote for RotoBaller and ClutchPoints, where he was the lead editor for MLB, College Football and NFL coverage. A lifelong Yankees and Giants fan, Tim grew up just outside New York City and now lives near Philadelphia. When he's not writing, Tim enjoys reading, exercising and spending time with his family, including his three-legged cat Willow, who, unfortunately, is an Eagles fan.