Major League Baseball announced today that it is going to implement rule changes in the major leagues next season to improve the pace of play, by introducing the pitch clock and pickoff throw rules that we have been using in Triple-A this year. It’s a bold and necessary move, in my opinion.
With these rules in place, the Pacific Coast League has been playing the most entertaining form of baseball in all of the professional leagues. The pitch clock coupled with the pickoff rule (pitchers can’t step off the rubber to reset the clock more than twice per batter) has caused less standing around doing nothing, more rapid action, and increased stolen bases. Pair that with the natural high-scoring environments we have scattered around the PCL and it’s been great baseball to watch. We’ve seen thrilling games end with scores such as 8-7 lasting right around three hours, when these types of games used to take close to four hours in the past.
In an attempt to increase scoring, MLB is going to ban infield shifts next year. Shift bans have been sampled this season in the lower minor leagues but we have not seen that in Triple-A. Many observers think it won’t impact scoring at all, and in fact will just encourage more hitters to try to pull the ball all the time. We’ll get to find out next year, because if they are banning the shift in the majors, it will be banned in Triple-A too.
Left on the sidelines for now: robot umpires, or the Automated Ball-Strike System. There has been no announcement yet in regards to if we will continue to use it in the PCL in 2023.
YESTERDAY: Oklahoma City won its first game of the series, taking a 5-4 decision in the tenth inning when Ryan Noda walks on a full count pitch with the bases loaded and two outs to force home the winning run. Tacoma overcame a 4-1 deficit in the later innings to send the game into extras, with Jonathan Villar‘s second RBI single of the night tying the game in the eighth. Erick Mejia had a big game, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored, and two RBI.
TODAY: Tacoma Rainiers (62-70) at Oklahoma City Dodgers (74-58), 5:05 (Pacific).
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Los Angeles Dodgers.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Travis Barbary
SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 5-4.
PITCHERS: LHP Roenis Elias (1-2, 5.51) at RHP Michael Grove (1-3, 3.54)
ROSTER MOVES: None today as of posting time.
HOT HITTERS: Mason McCoy has reached base safely in 15 straight games, and he has hit safely in his last four games… Kyle Lewis has reached base in 11 straight games… Brian O’Keefe had his six-game hitting streak end last night.
OPPONENT NEWS: Oklahoma City has the best record in the league, but the Dodgers lead in the East is just one game over Round Rock and El Paso after dropping four of six to the Express in a series that ended Sunday… James Outman defied all of the laws of physics and nature when he hit for the cycle twice in a span of four games, August 26 vs. El Paso and August 30 at Round Rock… Jason Martin leads the PCL with 30 home runs… reliever Daniel Zamora is the lone former Rainier currently active for Oklahoma City… Chief Sealth (Seattle) High School alum Keone Kela is now with Oklahoma City.
BROADCAST: All games will be broadcast free on a live audio stream which is available right here.
Unfortunately, there is no traditional terrestrial radio station carrying the games at this time.
PCL SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to broadcasts and Gameday screens right here.
- Baseball America has the numbers on how the time of game has been impacted this year in the minors. Triple-A games are averaging 2:43 this year, and they averaged 3:04 in 2021.
- With the Mariners off yesterday, the Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times broke down the AL Rookie of the Year award race between Julio Rodriguez and Adley Rutschman.
- Marco Gonzales is the Mariners nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.