Stopwatch patrol: Hey, two relatively fast LCS games

Readers of this space know all about my crusade to get baseball to pick up the pace. Usually, I am complaining about the numbing length of games, especially in the postseason.

So in the interest of fairness, I am glad to point out that something unusual happened yesterday: Two relatively fast LCS games.

Kansas City’s 2-1 victory over Baltimore came in under three hours at 2:55. Granted in 1964, a 2-1 game would have been finished in 1:55. But in the modern era, we have seen plenty of 2-1 games push the 3:30-3:40 mark.

The brisk pace was a nice change from the first two games which went 4:37 (in 10 innings) and 4:17.

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s 5-4 win over St. Louis in 10 innings checked in at 3:10. Obviously, the game would have broke the three-hour mark if it was completed in nine innings. Again, it was in stark contrast to the first two games, which went 3:23 (for a 3-0 shutout) and 3:40.

Sure good pitching was a factor. But an even bigger factor was pitchers working quickly.

Admit it, the faster games were much more enjoyable to watch.

Meanwhile, here is a link to a story on the first game of the Arizona Fall League played under the new experimental time rules. Guess what? The game was completed in 2:14.

From the story on

Five clocks were on display — two behind home plate, one at the edge of each dugout and one in left-center field — to alert the players of the time left to either throw a pitch or get ready for the next inning.

Additionally, in all games played at Salt River Fields this season, teams have two minutes and five seconds between innings, and they are limited to three “time out” conferences per game. That includes meetings between pitchers and catchers, coaches and pitchers, and coaches and batters.

While those three rules are only being enforced at games held at Salt River Fields, other experimental rules are in place throughout the AFL.

No-pitch intentional walks, in which the manager signals to the home-plate umpire with four fingers to intentionally walk a batter, are being tested at all AFL venues, though no intentional passes have been issued through the first week of the season.

For all AFL games except those held at Salt River, batters are required to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box unless there is a foul ball, a hit batsman, an umpire timeout, a runner attempting to score, a drag or push bunt, a wild pitch or passed ball. The batter may also step out of the box if the pitcher leaves the dirt area of the mound after receiving the ball or the catcher leaves the catcher’s box to give signals.

“It’s definitely different,” Salt River Rafters catcher and Astros prospect Tyler Heineman said. “We’ve got to get used to it. It might make the pitchers rush a bit when they’re coming in from the bullpen in-between innings. It might take away from their first couple of pitches because they’re out of gas.”




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