|View single post by lobo316|
|Posted: Tue Apr 11th, 2017 12:41 am||
|Rob Manfred just wants to go fast. The problem is relief pitchers.
After New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard left his first start of the regular season on April 3, the game became a chess game of relievers. Between the Mets and Atlanta Braves, seven relief pitchers were used to finish three innings. This is not optimal for MLB commissioner Manfred, according to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News.
"I've got nothing against relief pitchers," Manfred said, "but they do two things to the game: They slow the game down and our relievers have become so dominant at the back end that they actually rob action out of the end of the game."
Manfred's desire to speed up baseball can be tracked to the installation of the automatic intentional walk - though how much time that saves may be negligible. Another potential rule change would be to limit how many relievers a team can use in a single inning, though that doesn't seem likely in the near future.
"We have to accept the game is changing, maybe faster than some of us would like," he said. "Our job is how best to manage the change. My first priority is the dead time issue, especially late in the game, which we have started to address with changes such as limiting the instant replay time, waiving of the four-pitch intentional walk and (still being negotiated) limiting mound visits. After that, there may have to be a next round of changes which could affect the competition (like the limiting of relievers in one inning), some of which may not be realistic."
If such a drastic change were implemented, it would alter late-inning strategy like using lefty specialists, possibly eliminating it entirely. It would also potentially curb spending on relievers in the offseason, as well as overall roster construction.
With complete games waning in regularity - there were only 83 in 2016 - relievers have seen their roles and importance expand since the early 1980s. Gone are the days of starting pitchers throwing 300 innings in a single season.
There is no indication a reliever cap would take place anytime soon, but Manfred is committed to speed up baseball. He makes no mention, however, of providing players with horses to patrol the outfield or implementing an automatic strikeout to counter the auto-walk rule. Until another rule change is imminent, every game will go by its own set of variables.