Posted on April 8, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer is not a happy camper. The Indians lost to the Kansas City Royals 1-0 on Saturday. Bauer gave up the only run of the game on a solo home run to Kansas City first baseman Lucas Duda. After the game, Bauer shared blame for the loss with the new pace-of-play rules that limit the time between innings.
“First pitch of the inning, coming out, I tried to get loose,” Bauer said after the game. “But with the new Rob Manfred BS that we have only a certain amount of time between innings, it’s hard to get loose sometimes, especially in conditions like that. It’s not safe, but, whatever.”
The new rule allows pitchers to throw as many warm-up pitches as they want before an inning. However, for games that are being broadcast on local television, there is a hard count of two minutes and five seconds between innings. According to the rule, pitchers must finish their warm-up pitches with 20 seconds left on the clock. They must then be in their windup ready to throw the first pitch of the inning with five seconds left on the clock.
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Bauer said after Saturday’s game that such a tight window doesn’t give pitchers enough time to get loose. Game time temperatures in Cleveland on Saturday were just above freezing, making it tougher for pitchers to stay warm. After Bauer struggled to get loose within the allotted time for the top of the 7th inning, the first pitch of the inning became Duda’s home run and the only run of the game.
“Every inning you basically start off not loose,” said Bauer. “I told the umpire today one time – he was trying to tell me to speed up – I said, ‘Look I’ll take the fine if I need to, but I’m not going to put myself at risk,’ and I’m not going to put the team at risk of me having exactly what happened happen.”
Bauer clarified that the limited warm-up time wasn’t the only reason he gave up the home run to do. But he did say it was a contributing factor. He went on to explain that pitchers must find a balance between resting and getting loose between innings. Bauer said it’s possible to start warming up before taking the field. However, it’s tough to gauge how long an inning will last. This would obviously be more complicated for National League pitchers who may have to bat.
“It’s hard when you’re being rushed, to get your warmup pitches in,” said Bauer. “I just know a lot of people have felt rushed between innings this year, which hasn’t been the case in the past.”
Ian Kennedy, who started Saturday’s game for the Royals, agreed with Bauer about the difficulty of staying loose on such a cold day.
“The ball feels like it’s an ice cube when it gets thrown to you,” said Kennedy. “For me it was probably my body, trying to keep it warm. You start to get a little cold at the end of the game. Your flexibility starts to die down a little bit.”
Manfred is yet to respond publicly to Bauer’s complaints. The commissioner has pushed hard on pace-of-play rules, including putting a hard limit on time in between innings. It remains to be seen if he will relax on those rules, especially if players feel their health and safety is at risk.