Sports

MLB decides to keep pitch clock rules in place for upcoming playoffs: reports

Teams across Major League Baseball had to adjust to the pitch clock this season. 

As the calendar changes to September, some teams are making their final pushes for the postseason. But, players will still have to adhere to the pitch clock rules. MLB does not plan to make any adjustments to the pitch timer for the playoffs, according to multiple reports.

ESPN reported that MLB officials appear to hope the momentum of the faster regular season games will carry over into the postseason, which begins in October.

Pitch clock winds down during MLB game

The pitch clock counts down as Carlos Santana of the Pittsburgh Pirates waits for a pitch from Houston Astros starter Jose Urquidy during the first inning of the game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on April 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

The league’s competition committee adopted the clock ahead of Opening Day. The MLB also banned defensive shifts and introduced larger bases this season. 

The decision to keep the pitch clock rules intact comes amid ongoing complaints from several players. 

MLB’S PITCH CLOCK MAY BE LEADING TO BETTER DEFENSE, PLAYERS AND MANAGERS SAY

The clock is set at 15 seconds with no runners on base and 20 seconds when there are runners.

The current rules also stipulate that pickoff attempts or step-offs will be limited to two per plate appearance. If a third pickoff throw is attempted and is unsuccessful, the pitcher is charged with a balk.

The average time of a nine-inning game has dropped from three hours, 10 minutes in 2021 to three hours, four minutes last year, when the PitchCom electronic signaling device was introduced, and to two hours, 39 minutes so far this season.

Pitch clock winds down at Texas Rangers game

The pitch clock ticks down in the top of the ninth inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on April 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Emil T. Lippe, File)

The average has crept up from two hours, 37 minutes in April to two hours, 38 minutes in May; two hours, 39 minutes in June; and two hours, 41 minutes in both July and August.

Clock violations have averaged 0.48 per game, dropping from 0.71 in April to 0.57 in May; 0.41 in June; 0.38 in July; and 0.29 in August.

Sergio Alcantara of the Chicago Cubs stands in front of MLB pitch clock

Sergio Alcantara of the Chicago Cubs waits in the on-deck circle next to the pitch clock during a spring training game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona, on March 7, 2023. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

In an effort to promote safety, bases were increased to 18-inch squares from 15 inches to reduce the likelihood of first basemen being stepped on. 

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minor leagues last season, and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

During last year’s MLB playoffs, games averaged three hours, 23 minutes. The 2022 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros took an average of three hours, 24 minutes per game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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