Stroman commits MLB’s 1st pitch-clock violation
Marcus Stroman is getting used to the new pitch clock in Major League Baseball. And it’s no small problem for right-handers.
“It’s hard, this pitch clock. It’s a big adjustment,” he said.
Stroman committed his first regular season offense on the pitch clock in the third inning of the Cubs’ 4-0 victory over Milwaukee on Thursday.
Strowman saw rookie Bryce Turan leading second base with no outs and Christian Yelich hitting at Wrigley Field for the long haul. Just as Stroman turned his attention back to Jerich, at-bat umpire Ron Krupa called an infraction. Kulpa pointed to his wrist to call and made it 2-2 on his count against Yelich on an automatic ball. Stroman did not object.
“I have to look at the clock. I’m trying to worry about the pitch. I’m trying to worry about the base players. I’m trying to worry about the grip,” Stroman said. “There are so many things happening right now.
“So it definitely adds one tough layer to the game, to be honest. Being a pitcher is definitely not easy and it feels rushed at times.”
Several more violations followed on the opening day of regular season games since MLB introduced a series of rule changes this season. This includes sports watches famously lacking timers for decades.
Star slugger Raphael Devers of the Boston Red Sox took an unsavory place in the league record books as the first hitter to strike out on a violation. Devers was looking down and kicking debris from his cleats in the eighth inning when Lance Barksdale signaled the violation leading to Strike 3.
“There is no excuse,” said Boston manager Alex Cora. “They know the rules.”
JD Davis of the San Francisco Giants became the first hitter to be called for a pitch clock violation during the ninth inning of a game at Yankee Stadium.
Meanwhile, in Washington, Atlanta Braves reliever Colin McHugh spread his arms wide after umpire Dan Bellino called for a violation in the eighth inning against Washington. With this, batter Jaymar Candelario took his 1-0 lead, and McHugh added his three pitches.
Atlanta manager Brian Snicker said, “Honestly, I didn’t even realize it happened. It’s going to happen.”
The first day rollout went mostly well, but we ran into some issues in Miami.
In the fifth inning, New York Mets ace Max Scherzer watched Marlins’ Brian De La Cruz until the clock struck zero. De La Cruz started yelling “Ball! Ball! Ball!” Like — to call autoball. However, the at-bat umpire Larry Vanover thought the batter was calling for a timeout. Scherzer escaped without an automatic ball, later causing a pop-up from Dela Cruz.
Next inning, Banover angered Mets All-Star Jeff McNeill with an offense he called. McNeill waited for baserunner Pete Alonso to retreat first after a foul ball, when Banover launched an automatic attack on him. He seemed annoyed that the pitch clock started before Alonso got back to first.
It worked for McNeil – he grounded an RBI single a few pitches later.
“I love the pace,” Scherzer said. “I don’t like clocks. I’m going to double it. I think referees should have the discretion to stop clocks.”
MLB introduced a pitch clock this season to speed up the pace of play. A player is given 30 seconds between batters to resume play. Between pitches, he has 15 seconds with no pitchers and 20 seconds with baserunners. The hitter must be in the box and have his attention on the pitcher for at least eight seconds.
If the pitcher fails to pitch in time, the penalty is an automatic ball. If the batter is not ready in time, it is an automatic strike.
San Diego Padres star Manny Machado committed his first pitch clock violation during spring training. was overwhelmingly encouraged by the rollout of the new rules.
Other changes this year include a larger base to improve player safety, as well as infield shifts and limits on pitcher withdrawals to encourage more action.
AP baseball writer Ronald Blum from New York, AP sports writer Howard Fendrich from Washington, Kyle Hightower from Boston, and Alanis Thames from Miami contributed to this article.