Have you fallen asleep yet this MLB season? There have already been 16 games that have gone to extra innings with multiple teams playing in more than one of those games. Discussions have been brought up recently and for good reason. Some fans of the game have suggested that the MLB put a runner on second base at the start of the inning when the contest exceeds the nine original innings.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have played in multiple extra inning games and played into the 15th inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks a week ago. The Dodgers have already played in three of those aforementioned 16 extra inning games and used a combined 46 pitchers when combined with their opponents.
The Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs played into the 17th inning on the second day of the season and both teams used a combined 14 pitchers in the contest. Extra-inning games ruin your bullpen as you are forced to use the majority of your bullpen when the game extends into the later innings and sometimes you start warming up your starters, which ruins the starting rotation.
Cleveland has had their fair share of walk-off magic in the extra innings as they had a league-leading 11 walk-off wins in 2016. Not all walk-off wins are done in the 9th inning, but imagine all the pitching that the Indians could have saved during their 13 inning crazy walk-off win against the Yankees back in the ALDS when they used eight pitchers. In my opinion, the extra-inning games are amazing to watch and who wouldn’t watch a crazy ending to a game, but it ruins the games that are in the near future.
The MLB is apparently attempting to see how well this idea would work out as they have started implementing the idea in the minor leagues. As of this season, there will be a player placed on second base at the start of the extra inning and the play will be labeled as an error and the run will not be awarded to the pitcher, the error will also not be addressed as an error when scoring. There will also be a 15-second pitch clock when there are no runners on a base. These moves are being made in order to expedite the game and lower the average game time. The MLB has implemented the number of mound visits at the MLB level and the game time of games has been lowered in the first week with an average game time of 3:00:58 compared to the 3:05:11, which was the average last season without the newly addressed rules.
Going forward if the MLB really wants to lower the time of games being played they should start putting players on second base at the start of the extra innings, then you wouldn’t have the marathon games.