Did MLB supply a different ball for October?

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Rob Arthur of Baseball Prospectus has been the leader in researching the changes we’ve seen in the baseball — and the skyrocketing home run rate — over the past several years. Today he makes an observation that suggests, perhaps, things are moving back in a less-launchy direction, at least for the postseason. And it may be no accident.

With the caveat that we’re dealing with a small sample size — only 17 postseason games have been played — Arthur, using MLB’s own data, looked at how many homers one would expect to see based on exit velocity, launch angle, and the ballpark in which the ball was struck. He found that, compared to the home run rates we’ve seen all season long, there have been about 50% fewer home runs than expected. Fifty percent!

And no, those “cool October temperatures” have nothing to do with it because (a) his model controls for weather; and (b) it, actually, has been warmer in October thus far than it had been, on average, over the course of the season.

Has Major League Baseball, stung by increasing criticism over the juiced ball that has been in play over these past couple of seasons, corrected — or, perhaps, overcorrected — for it? We can’t know for sure, because no one ever talks about this stuff, but the change, which Arthur says corresponds perfectly with the start of the postseason, is most curious.

Stanton, Donaldson, Kahnle activated by Yankees ahead of Dodgers series

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, and Tommy Kahnle were activated by the New York Yankees ahead of their weekend series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

New York cleared three roster spots after a 1-0 loss at Seattle, optioning infielder-outfielders Oswaldo Cabrera and Franchy Cordero to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre along with left-hander Matt Krook.

Stanton, Donaldson and Kahnle all played in a rehab game for Double-A Somerset. Stanton was hitless in three at-bats in his first appearance since injuring his left hamstring on April 15.

Donaldson went 1 for 4 in his fourth rehab game as he comes back from a strained right hamstring originally sustained on April 5.

Kahnle pitched one inning, giving up one run and one hit and walking two. He has been out since spring training with right biceps tendinitis.

Aaron Boone said he wasn’t concerned about Stanton returning after playing in just one rehab game. He did say that Stanton likely will be a designated hitter for a couple of weeks after rejoining the Yankees.

New York is missing centerfielder Harrison Bader, who strained his right hamstring against the Mariners and went on the injured list the next day.

Left-hander Carlos Rodón, sidelined since spring training by a sore left forearm and an ailing back, was transferred to the 60-day injured list.