Boston Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen secured his 424th career save on Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels (box score), and he did it despite loading the bases to begin his appearance by hitting a batter, walking a batter, and surrendering a single. Afterward, Jansen became the second pitcher in 10 days to criticize the quality of the baseballs.

"Any balls that came, I just threw it back until I found a good ball. It's just brutal," Jansen told reporters, including Sean McAdam of MassLive, after the game. "But for me, yes, I probably have to get better. I always will be accountable for myself. I'm going to get better. But if your bullpen balls are better rubbed than game balls, it's embarrassing. I've been in this league a long time now and from the beginning of my career to now, it's getting worse."

Although the Red Sox's pitching staff has been quite good this season -- they entered Sunday ranked first in staff ERA and fifth in walk rate -- Jansen added that he wasn't alone in his critique of the ball quality: "It's been an issue all year. I've been talking to a lot of my teammates and they feel the same way."

As noted in the introduction, Jansen isn't the first big-league pitcher to take aim this year at the balls. Back on April 5, Tampa Bay Rays reliever Pete Fairbanks expressed his frustration with the ball quality after a miserable outing at Coors Field that saw him walk all three batters he faced.

"They were horrible. You can mark that down in all caps for me: horrible," Fairbanks told reporters. "That's what happens when you don't throw strikes, you get punished for it. So, I'd love to see those come out of the humidor tomorrow in a little better shape before they get rubbed up, but there's nobody to blame but myself for not being able to adjust to some of the quality issues."

Major League Baseball -- and, really, professional baseball as a whole -- is no stranger to ball-related controversy. What Fairbanks and Jansen seem to have had problems with is not the aerodynamic qualities of the ball (e.g., them being "juiced"), but the gripping ability. If this is indeed a league-wide experience, and not simply two pitchers running into a bad batch of balls, then that, plus the league's policy toward grip-enhancing substances, could make for some interesting outings this year.