CHICAGO – Like most of the pitchers in the MLB, Marcus Stroman is getting used to Major League Baseball’s new pitch clock. It hasn’t been a small change for the Chicago Cubs right-hander. Stroman committed the first pitch clock violation, Thursday.
“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s a big adjustment.”
Stroman committed the violation the first-regular season violation on opening day in the third inning of the Cubs win over Milwaukee. It was the first of 14 violations in 15 games on a day the average game time was 2 hours, 45 minutes. There were five violations batters, eight by pitchers and one by a catcher. All MLB teams opened for the first time since 1968.
Stroman took a long look at rookie Brice Turang leading off second base with no outs and Christian Yelich batting at Wrigley Field. Just as Stroman turned his attention back to Yelich, plate umpire Ron Kulpa called the violation for taking too long to deliver a pitch. Kulpa pointed to his wrist in announcing the call, and the automatic ball made it a 2-2 count against Yelich. Stroman didn’t argue.
“You’ve got to be looking at the clock. You’re trying to worry about the pitch. You’re trying to worry about the guys on base. You’re trying to worry about your grip,” Stroman said. “There’s so many things going on now.”
Several more pitch clock violations followed on the first day of regular-season games since MLB introduced a slate of rules changes this season — including for a sport that famously existed for decades without any timers.
The pitch clock was introduced this season to speed the pace of play. Players have 30 seconds to resume play between batters. Between pitches, pitchers have 15 seconds with nobody on and 20 seconds if there is a baserunner. Batters must be in the box and alert to the pitcher with at least eight seconds on the clock.
When a pitcher fails to throw a pitch in time, the penalty is an automatic ball. When a batter isn’t ready in time, it’s an automatic strike.
Boston Red Sox star slugger Rafael Devers earned an unpleasant spot in the record book as the first batter to strike out via violation. Devers was looking down and kicking debris off his cleats in the eighth inning when Lance Barksdale signaled a violation that resulted in strike three.
“There’s no excuse,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “They know the rules.”
TL//DR: Cubs Marcus Stroman commits MLB’s first pitch clock violation
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