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Two Guys Talking Mets: The pitch clock

Adjusting to new rules, Max Scherzer and Keith Hernandez' musings highlight the latest installment

A.J. Carter: John, I’ve watched some spring games on MLB Network and listened to parts of others on satellite radio, and my early reaction is that I like the new speedup rules. It doesn’t seem to me that the level of play has been affected and I really like less down time between pitches. I find that I am concentrating on the game more and not seeking other distractions on my phone to fill in the gaps. Are you finding the same thing?

John: I am seeing the same thing. It almost seems manic in its pace compared to where it used to be. It’s a great start. I love the 15-second clock when the bases are empty. There’s no need for long delays when there aren’t any baserunners to worry about. The 20-second clock with runners on base might be a little too short, especially when pitchers have more to worry about like counting their own disengagements and coordinating when the catcher should throw over. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that grow to 25 seconds at some point. Perhaps make it 25 seconds with runners on base from the 7th inning on?

A.J.: After the initial weekend of confusion, it also looks like the players are settling into this new pace, especially the hitters. That new batting glove technology also must be working; unlike the previous Chuck Knoblauch model, these don’t need to be adjusted after every pitch!

John: Amazing how that works, right? But I do wonder how players are going to adjust to the pitch clock. Max Scherzer just got tagged for five runs against the Nationals, in part because of a couple of battles with the pitch clock, trying to quick pitch a hitter and getting called for a balk because of it. Scherzer is one of those players that really “thinks” the game instead of just getting out there and firing it. It has served him well over his career, but you hope that his attention to detail and desire to gain every edge possible doesn’t wind up hurting him because of these new rules and guidelines.

A.J.: Called for a balk on a quick pitch? Shouldn’t he be given an extra strike, in the spirit of speeding up the game?! Seriously, as you note, Scherzer “thinks” the game, and my take is that this is what spring training games are all about: working on things and figuring things out so that when the bell rings to start the season, most of the questions have been answered and the kinks have been worked out. One fear I do have about the new, quicker game is that we’ll lose out on some of Keith Hernandez’ seemingly pointless yet highly-entertaining digressions since there is less time to kill. I hope the SNY producers are figuring out how to keep them.

John: They’ve already made the promos shorter, which I’m sure Keith will love, as well as games that run 2:40. More time to spend with Hadji!

Photo: Mark Rosenman

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