News agency3 minutes to read
Max Scherzer theorized that baseball’s new ballpark clock would allow pitchers to dictate the pace of games.
In the eyes of a judge, he was racing too fast even for Friday’s court timer.
Scherzer tested the limits of baseball’s new pace-of-play rules during his second start in spring training, attempting several unusual tactics to drive Washington hitters out of their game. At one point, he began throwing a pitch to Victor Robles the moment board umpire Jeremy Riggs reset the clock, and Riggs called Scherzer for a block.
“He’s asking for time, I come, I get the go-ahead,” Scherzer said. “I thought that was a clean move. He said no. We have to know where the limit is.”
Major League Baseball’s pitch clock has left pitchers and hitters learning a whole new pace for the game this spring. Players have 30 seconds to restart play between batters. Between pitches, pitchers have 15 seconds to hand the ball to nobody and 20 seconds if there is a baserunner.
The batters must be in the box and alert the pitcher for at least eight seconds on the clock, and they only get one timeout per plate appearance.
Some adjust and benefit from rules faster than others. New York Yankees reliever Wandy Peralta rushed through the at-bat with such effectiveness Thursday that he completed a three-pitch strikeout in just 20 seconds.
Scherzer tried out some strategies on Friday.
With two outs on and two outs against Riley Adams in the third inning, Scherzer froze in the set position and let the court clock drop to seven before Adams called timeout.
On the next pitch, Scherzer was set when the 20-second clock started. Adams finally got to square the clock at 11 seconds, and Scherzer delivered right away, getting a swinging hit on a 96-mph fastball.
“You could tell they were expecting me to run fast today, and you can make that your advantage by speeding up and slowing down the game,” Sherzer said.
Not all experiments were successful. Not only was Scherzer called for a tackle, but the double play was also overturned at the end of the inning when the umpires determined he had let the court clock run out before starting his handoff.
“Max and a lot of veteran pitchers and pitchers in general are going to use this time to test a few things and make some adjustments,” said Mets manager Buck Showalter. “Everyone here is looking for a competitive edge—hitters, pitchers, catchers—and it’s a good time to test those things.”
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