When the 2023 season begins we’ll be checking on the usual things. Such as if some individual players get off to good starts and more importantly, how is the team doing?
But we will also be tracking the time of games. After MLB games averaged three hours and 10 minutes last year and are at 3:04 this year, MLB announced rule changes recently including the use of a pitch clock next year to improve pace of play.
Pitchers will have 15 seconds to pitch with no one on base and up to 20 seconds with a runner or runners on.
This definitely has worked to improve pace of play and lower game times on the farm this season. In Triple-A, the average time of game is two hours and 43 minutes, while it is 2:40 in Double-A, 2:34 in high-A and 2:36 in low-A.
“The overall time of the game (should improve) for sure,” O’s outfielder Kyle Stowers told me after seeing the clock at work this year on the farm. “So I think games will be getting done a little bit quicker. I would say in Norfolk the longer game tended to be around the three hour mark or 3:10 mark where most of the games were hovering around 2:45. Definitely helped the pace of play. It will be an adjustment though. I think it will take guys time to get used to.
“There are a couple of different ways to go about it and how it can impact the game. First and foremost as a hitter, you get one timeout, so if you want a break at one point in the at-bat, you can use your timeout. But the problem is, you only get that once. Some guys like to have their routines, their pre-pitch routines and those might have to change.
"You know I think another thing too, if pitchers quick pitch you, it’s tough to neutralize that because you have to be in the box at eight seconds and once you are in there they can go. You know there is no kind of way to neutralize that. So, I’m hoping if guys get in the box on time, the umpires don’t allow that pitcher to go right away.”
Stowers said there were times this year when he felt it was rapid fire with pitches coming his way.
“Yeah, there were a couple of different times where pitchers would get in a rhythm and it’s just tough,” he said. “You only get one timeout and can do it for one pitch. But if a guy is quick pitching and gets into a rhythm it’s tough to break that up.”
The changes could turn out to be very good for the game.
“We’ll see. I think it adds some pace to it for sure. Maybe early in the game you might see those innings quicker but I think the biggest moments in baseball, the tension builds, like in the playoffs, and at the end of games and close games. It could be, we’ll see how things go. I think it will be something that everyone will be able to adjust to but we’ll see if it brings or takes anything away,” he said.
Stowers said he quickly learned to adapt and adjust to the clock but it could be more difficult for some.
“Yeah, I got comfortable. It will be interesting to see, from an offensive standpoint of checking out the signs, making sure you get the signs from the coach. And then getting a chance to gather yourself and get in the box. We’ll see how that works. But you adjust. It becomes normal. I’m a guy who tends to stay right around the box, so it didn’t really change too much for me. But at the same time, there are at-bats where you want to slow things down and it might be tougher to do that," he said.
O's win road trip opener: Needing to run off a winning streak or a nice stretch of winning to end the year, the Orioles won 4-3 at Washington last night. After scoring just eight runs the previous four games, and being shutout Sunday, the O's offense produced 11 hits - five for extra bases.
The Birds are now 31-7 when they get 10 hits or more.
Ryan Mountcastle hit his 22nd homer and it came off his good friend, right-hander Hunter Harvey. Adley Rutschman went 2-for-4 and produced his 30th double as his OPS increased to .807. The 30 doubles leads all MLB rookies and is two off the O's rookie record of 32 doubles set by Cal Ripken Jr. in 1982.
The Orioles are now 50-39 all-time against Washington and 23-21 all-time in games at Nats Park.
And on the farm: High Single-A Aberdeen lost at Brooklyn 8-1 Tuesday night in Game 1 of a best-of-three South Atlantic League semifinal playoff series. The IronBirds must win Thursday at home or their season is over.
Aberdeen was held to just five hits including a Jud Fabian solo homer and Dylan Beavers triple. The Ironbirds trailed 3-1 after three and 6-1 by the fifth inning.
Double-A Bowie was shutout 3-0 at Akron. The Baysox are 38-26 in the second half and trail first-place Erie by one game with five to play. But the Baysox lose both tiebreakers, so this was a damaging loss to their postseason chances.
Triple-A Norfolk won again, 12-4 at home over Charlotte. Spenser Watkins allowed one run over five innings on the mound. On offense, the Tides' Yusniel Diaz had a pair of RBI singles, while Richie Martin added a two-run homer, Tyler Nevin doubled in two and Cadyn Grenier mashed a three-run triple. Norfolk is 67-69 for the year and 12-3 over its last 15 games. Lefty Drew Rom (1-0, 1.66 ERA) gets the start tonight.
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