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Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Why MLB’s New Pitching Restrictions Are Bad for the Game

The worst, most unnecessary baseball rule foisted upon managers and true fans of the game has not been implemented yet. There is still time and hope.

MLB announced almost a year ago a plan that all pitchers must face a minimum of three batters per appearance or pitch to the end of the half inning. The MLB Players Association agreed not to challenge the rule as part of negotiations involving roster size and scheduling.

On its website MLB explained the rule is “an effort to reduce the number of pitching changes and, in turn, cut down the average time per game.”

To go all 19th century on you, that is pure poppycock. The rule will do great harm to the organic strategy of the game and do nothing perceptible to time of game.

Mind you, at this point many of us are inclined to hold any argument Tom Verducci makes as suspect, so….

 

QLE Posted: December 04, 2019 at 03:55 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pitching, rule changes, the sky is falling

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   1. catomi01 Posted: December 04, 2019 at 05:13 PM (#5905702)
I don't like changes like this when there are easier one's like forcing the batter to stay in the box, and the pitcher pitching within a certain time limit available.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2019 at 05:16 PM (#5905705)
To go all 19th century on you, that is pure poppycock. The rule will do great harm to the organic strategy of the game and do nothing perceptible to time of game.
Oh, for chrissakes.

I don't like changes like this when there are easier one's like forcing the batter to stay in the box, and the pitcher pitching within a certain time limit available.
Yeah, do that too. But since Manfred doesn't have the balls to do that, at least do this.
   3. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 04, 2019 at 05:26 PM (#5905709)
I'm guessing we'll see formerly Loogys come in to pitch to lefty-righty-lefty, and take six minutes working on the righty.
   4. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: December 04, 2019 at 05:26 PM (#5905710)
The issue for me with the one batter and done thing is it drags the pace of the game down at the precise moment the game should be most exciting. I'm not a basketball fan but I'll usually check out March Madness but I find when a game is close late and they suddenly start calling a time out or fouling every 8 seconds that I lose interest. I'm enough of a baseball fan that the pitcher change doesn't drive me away but it is something I don't like.

The proposed rule would eliminate one mid-inning pitching change every three or four games


If this is the case I don't think the rule is bad for the game. At worst it is then just a mild inconvenience.
   5. PreservedFish Posted: December 04, 2019 at 05:29 PM (#5905711)
I agree with him. I don't like the rule and it will do little to address the problem with pace.

• Relief appearances of one or two batters are going down, not up.
• Only about one-third of all one- or two-batter appearances would be affected by the proposed rule (those that do not end the half inning).
• One-batter relief appearances in 2019 reached a 13-year low. They are down 21% from just four years ago. In that time teams stopped matching up based on handedness and relied on micro-data such as pitch and swing paths. The Astros didn’t even carry a lefthander in the World Series.
• The proposed rule would eliminate one mid-inning pitching change every three or four games. That’s it.



Look, if the games do go faster, I'll be pleased about that. And I get that the mid-inning pitching replacement feels longer than it really is. But this rule is a significant change for very little payoff. It's infuriating that MLB nibbles at the problem in a complex and stupid way instead of attacking the singular cause of slow games - the slow ####### pace between pitches.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2019 at 05:45 PM (#5905716)
But this rule is a significant change for very little payoff.

I think it's a good thing, even if it doesn't speed up games much. Pitchers that can't get opposite hand hitters out don't belong in MLB. Anything that reduces specialization is a win to me.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2019 at 05:52 PM (#5905718)
It also at least introduces the concept of "No, you don't get to do whatever managering you want, regardless of whether it makes for crappy entertainment." It's a start.
   8. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 04, 2019 at 05:55 PM (#5905720)
Anything that reduces specialization is a win to me.


So I assume you loathe the 4 hour marathon of most professional American football games? Since, and I'm randomly guessing here, guys like Chuck Bednarik played both ways, the NFL is all about specialisation......
   9. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2019 at 06:14 PM (#5905722)
Naturally, as it becomes even less of a problem, baseball addresses it. But agreed, if it's not a problem, then fixing it can't really harm the game ... unless we do get any cases where a pitcher gets hurt pushing himself to finish batter #3 ... which seems unlikely and probably would have happened anyway.

The Astros didn’t even carry a lefthander in the World Series.

They barely had any in the regular season. Framber Valdez made 8 starts (35.2 IP) and 18 relief appearances (35 IP), Cionel Perez threw 9 and Reymin Guduan 5.1 in relief. So that's a total of fewer than 50 relief IP from LHP. Between Miley and Valdez, they did get a bit over 200 IP of starts from LHP. And given Perez and Guduan both had ERAs over 10 and Valdez's relief ERA was 4.63, there's no argument they should have carried any of them in the playoffs. Miley made a relief appearance in the ALDS.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2019 at 06:17 PM (#5905723)
So I assume you loathe the 4 hour marathon of most professional American football games? Since, and I'm randomly guessing here, guys like Chuck Bednarik played both ways, the NFL is all about specialisation......

Yes. I haven't watched an NFL game in 5+ years.

The NFL would be much better with 1) no substitutions within a series, and 2) QB must call the plays.

Any sport where the coaches are the most important contributors is badly broken.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: December 04, 2019 at 06:20 PM (#5905725)
I get that the mid-inning pitching replacement feels longer than it really is.


What does this mean? It feels long because it is long. The mid-inning break is natural, and takes place at every level, with guys running on/off the field, the infield throwing the whole horsehide around and the grounds crew raking the diamond on innings that are divisible by three.

Mid-inning pitching changes have none of that other stuff, just some anonymous dude coming in from the pen after the portly manager waddles to the mound, pointing to his right arm along the way. They don't happen as often as they used to, but they're still a major drag when the do (and I'm sure they happen more often in the postseason, when more folks are watching, than they do in the regular season).

*To be fair, like LOOGYs, it seems there aren't nearly as many rotund skippers as they're used to be.
   12. Random Transaction Generator Posted: December 04, 2019 at 06:26 PM (#5905726)
Any sport where the coaches are the most important contributors is badly broken.


So, basically baseball back in the 1970s and 1980s?

Managers calling pitch-outs, steal attempts, intentional walks, defensive alignments, bunt attempts, hit-and-run plays, and the usual substitutions/pinch-hitting/relief pitching changes is pretty much the driving factor for baseball back then. Sure, the players have to perform and react to situations during play when the ball is pitched, but then so do NFL players after the ball is hiked.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: December 04, 2019 at 06:28 PM (#5905727)
So, basically baseball back in the 1970s and 1980s?


That isn't close to being true. Yes, they were far more active in doing stuff than they are now, but baseball has never been as much a manager's game as football is a coach's game.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2019 at 06:32 PM (#5905728)
So, basically baseball back in the 1970s and 1980s?

Managers calling pitch-outs, steal attempts, intentional walks, defensive alignments, bunt attempts, hit-and-run plays, and the usual substitutions/pinch-hitting/relief pitching changes is pretty much the driving factor for baseball back then. Sure, the players have to perform and react to situations during play when the ball is pitched, but then so do NFL players after the ball is hiked.


Managers never had 1/10th the impact of football coaches. Most of those strategies were probably break-even at best.

System design, and play calling are way, way more important that anything a manager can ever do. Take a random knowledgeable baseball fan and have him manage the 2019 Nationals and they win a few less games. Take a random knowledgeable football fan and have him manage the 2018 Patriots, and they go 4-14.
   15. Sunday silence Posted: December 04, 2019 at 08:04 PM (#5905741)
I get it that only about 1/3 of these types of appearances might be eliminated on the face of it. But does anyone think there will be a knock on effect? That is, now that managers know they can't do this, they wont be tempted to carry a LOOGY who gets a lot of appearances that way. And so not only does he not get the one batter appearance, he also doesnt get a 3 batter appearance that he would have got cause now the manager doesnt even consider him an option now.

it it possible then that this rule will tilt roster composition in favor of more position players? I think its quite possible.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2019 at 08:16 PM (#5905743)
Take a random knowledgeable football fan and have him manage the 2018 Patriots, and they go 4-14.
Clutch god Brady still wins a playoff game with a 3-13 team and a nobody coach!
   17. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 04, 2019 at 08:28 PM (#5905747)
The within-the-inning change only becomes tedious when it's the 7th and you're already past 2 1/2 hours.

I don't think football substitutions are very relevant, because those players can come back. If you go to a Loogy, you lose your pitcher, then you lose the Loogy. Those can be interesting decisions.
   18. The Duke Posted: December 04, 2019 at 10:10 PM (#5905769)
I like the rule. For me it’s more about continuity of play, not saving time. Shouldn’t a ML pitcher be able to face three hitters?

A lot of the analytics stuff is making the game less appealing.

I don’t like exaggerated shifts. I attend games mostly at the park and shifting ruins some of the elegance of baseball
I don’t like replay at all. Again, it stops the game at the most exciting moments for minutes on end.
I don’t like all the sign stealing leading to longer signal calling. Ugh.

I would like to see automated balls/strikes. I think this will lead to more balls in play.
   19. yest Posted: December 05, 2019 at 08:28 AM (#5905816)
So if a pitcher comes in with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning with a 1 run lead and bases loaded, pitches 8 straight balls?

Any ideas what the manager should do?
   20. Rusty Priske Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:07 AM (#5905824)
The new rule is a good change.

The answer to #19 is the same answer to people who say this is the end of Loogies - Just don't suck. If the pitcher you bring in can't get anybody out, you should have had a better pitcher.

If a lefty can't get out righties, he shouldn't be in the majors.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:11 AM (#5905826)
The answer to #19 is the same answer to people who say this is the end of Loogies - Just don't suck. If the pitcher you bring in can't get anybody out, you should have had a better pitcher.

If a lefty can't get out righties, he shouldn't be in the majors.


Spot on.
   22. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:18 AM (#5905828)
Any ideas what the manager should do?


Spit and head back down the tunnel, maybe mumble something about 'getting them tomorrow'?
   23. flournoy Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:40 AM (#5905835)
If a pitcher is legitimately injured, I assume he can still be removed before three batters, right? How does that work?
   24. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:43 AM (#5905839)
iirc, they can but have to go on the dl. which seems appropriate, if you're going to have this rule i mildly disagree with.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:47 AM (#5905843)
iirc, they can but have to go on the dl. which seems appropriate,

Right, you have to really be injured, not "Dodgers injured".
   26. bobm Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:51 AM (#5905845)
If a pitcher is legitimately injured, I assume he can still be removed before three batters, right? How does that work?

With the phantom IBB, even an "injured" pitcher could walk enough batters to reach the minimum 3 batters faced. No need to make injury exceptions. That would cut out the incentive to fake injuries.
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:51 AM (#5905846)
iirc, they can but have to go on the dl. which seems appropriate,


That rule should already be in place. Any pitcher who comes out of a game for injury should be shelved for at least three days.
   28. bobm Posted: December 05, 2019 at 10:09 AM (#5905850)
For 2019, as Reliever, (requiring BF=1), sorted by greatest Performances matching selected criteria by a Team

                  
Rk    Tm #Matching
1    ARI        61
                  
2    CHC        56
                  
3    TBR        47
                  
4    STL        45
5    MIL        45
6    MIA        45
7    ATL        45
                  
8    PHI        44
                  
9    LAD        43
10   CLE        43
                  
11   WSN        41
12   MIN        41
13   CHW        41
                  
14   OAK        40
                  
15   DET        38
                  
16   SFG        37
17   NYM        37
                  
18   COL        36
19   CIN        36
                  
20   KCR        32
21   BOS        32
                  
22   PIT        29
                  
23   TOR        28
24   LAA        28
                  
25   NYY        27
                  
26   BAL        25
                  
27   TEX        23
                  
28   HOU        21
                  
29   SDP        19
                  
30   SEA        15


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/5/2019.

For 2019, as Reliever, (requiring BF<=2), sorted by greatest Performances matching selected criteria by a Team

                  
Rk    Tm #Matching
1    CHC       121
                  
2    ARI       116
                  
3    TBR        98
                  
4    CLE        96
                  
5    WSN        93
                  
6    STL        91
                  
7    ATL        87
                  
8    CHW        85
                  
9    PHI        82
10   LAD        82
11   CIN        82
                  
12   MIL        76
                  
13   NYM        73
14   DET        73
                  
15   MIN        72
16   COL        72
                  
17   OAK        69
18   MIA        69
                  
19   SFG        66
20   BOS        66
                  
21   KCR        62
                  
22   TOR        60
                  
23   BAL        57
                  
24   LAA        54
                  
25   NYY        52
                  
26   SDP        47
                  
27   SEA        44
                  
28   TEX        41
29   PIT        41
                  
30   HOU        37


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/5/2019.
   29. . Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:38 AM (#5905887)
So I assume you loathe the 4 hour marathon of most professional American football games?


American football games don't take 4 hours, or really anything close. Some are still over in less than 3.
   30. . Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5905888)
I don't think football substitutions are very relevant, because those players can come back. If you go to a Loogy, you lose your pitcher, then you lose the Loogy.


There's no reason baseball pitchers HAVE to be done just because they're removed, and I'd give some serious thought to actually changing that rule. It would make for much interesting strategy than the current borefest.
   31. . Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5905889)
A lot of the analytics stuff is making the game less appealing.


The analytics stuff has essentially ruined the game. When you take into account the analytics stuff's control of the narrative of the sport and its insistence on primacy in that narrative, it has ruined the game. If the game's daily appeal was a 10 in, say, 1992, it's like a 2 now.
   32. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5905893)
Right, you have to really be injured, not "Dodgers injured".


Aren't they changing the IL rules for pitchers vs position players?

EDIT: I was wrong, but the IL is going from the 10-day minimum back to 15-days.
   33. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:51 AM (#5905895)
For 2019, as Reliever, (requiring BF<=2), sorted by greatest Performances matching selected criteria by a Team


Rk Tm #Matching
1 CHC 121
2 ARI 116
3 TBR 98
...


This actually surprises me a little. Not the number of such appearances by the Cubs; I knew that Joe Maddon did this far too often and it constantly annoyed the hell out of me in real time. But I'm surprised that the Cubs were #1 and by a pretty wide margin. I had been giving Maddon a little bit of the benefit of the doubt and figured that sure, his use of relievers was annoying, but it was mostly mainstream usage within the modern game.

I still like this rule, but feel a bit better that at least not everybody is doing this all the time.
   34. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5905898)
The average football game is 3 hours 12 minutes, so effectively the same length as the average baseball game (I think 3:11). What football has by virtue of being a timed game is a cap, it's almost impossible for a game to get meaningfully over 3;30 and of course football games mostly are during the day so it's not like you have to worry about going to bed. The big thing with football is that on the biggest stage the game is still the same one you see during the season. MLB games become markedly longer in the post-season for reasons both on field (strategic) and off field (commercials!) and because of the late starts it's an issue.

Of course in order to benefit from the football timing you have to actually watch football which is god awful boring but that's me, obviously I'm in the minority on that one.
   35. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: December 05, 2019 at 03:21 PM (#5906000)
The average football game is 3 hours 12 minutes, so effectively the same length as the average baseball game (I think 3:11).


College football is longer. Can't find a number via a quick Google, but here is an article from two years ago that says the average length is 3:24. The 3:30 SEC game (kickoff is a bit later) almost always goes past 7:00 or 7:15.

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