Notice to Astros arms: pitch clock enforcement is coming

Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports /
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Among topics under discussion during the lockout are rules changes that would be significant. On Sunday, the Union agreed to give the league the ability to institute a pitch clock, larger bases and shift restrictions for 2023.

According to an ESPN report, Major League Baseball wants to institute a 14-second pitch clock with the bases empty and a 19-second clock with runners on.

While it may take a while to get used to the site of larger bases and changing shift rules, the one that stood out as the biggest change was the pitch clock which could affect a few Houston Astros hurlers.

The Astros have had two relievers delaying the game more recently, but will they be affected by an enforced pitch clock?

The Astros have had some notoriously slow workers on their staff, including Andre Scrubb and Pedro Baez, who was given the nickname “Human Rain Delay” for his slowness in working his way back to the rubber after a pitch.

I’ve seen these clocks at Minor League games and just noticed them as a curiosity, but I don’t recall a pitcher ever being penalized for “pitching too slow”.

This is Major League Baseball’s latest answer to the length of games, which now average three hours and 10 minutes.

What’s less obvious, at least to me, is where the responsibility for the length lies. There’s enough blame to go around from the number and length of commercials, to pitching changes, mound visits, general slowness of pitchers, replays and all the usual suspects.

There is however one reason that never seems to get mentioned: Batters stepping out of the box before nearly every single one of the 295 pitches per game.

While it’s true pitchers often step off or are slow to get ready at times, a batter staying in the box between pitches is such a rare and unusual visual that I even pointed out to my son last season the one time I can remember it happening.