It Didn’t Take Long For the First Hitter to be Called Out on a Pitch Clock Violation

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The new pitch clock for the 2023 MLB season has been both a controversial change and welcome addition, depending on who you ask.

While many players seem to hate it and some don’t mind it, there’s no denying the pitch clock makes a substantial difference to game times.


That said, it didn’t take long for the clock to have a significant impact on a game.

The Boston Red Sox opened their season Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park, as one of the first games of the day.

In the bottom of the 8th inning with no one out and no one on, star third baseman Rafael Devers came to the plate. Devers fouled off a 1-2 pitch and stepped out of the box to gather himself.

He stepped back in and started his pre-pitch process, only to be hit with an automatic strike from the home plate umpire because the pitcher was deemed ready to pitch.

With the score sitting 10-4 in the 8th inning, a pitch clock strikeout may not seem like a big deal. Except the Red Sox wound up storming back, nearly completing an improbable comeback before losing 10-9.

At the time it seemed like a meaningless at bat, but Devers had gotten on base or hit a home run, the outcome could have completely changed.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MARCH 30: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox bats during the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles on Opening Day at Fenway Park on March 30, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)

Pitch Clock Violations Begin

On the pitching side, Cubs starter Marcus Stroman became the first to be assessed an automatic ball.

Stroman was set, but kept looking back at second base, meaning the time elapsed before he delivered the pitch.

Although to be fair to him, it sure looked like there was one second left on the clock when the umpire signaled.

There are sure to be many more violations as players get used to the new rules, and many more game changing calls.

That said, the Orioles-Red Sox game, which finished 10-9 and featured 26 hits, three errors and 12 pitchers, took just 3 hours and 10 minutes to complete. That’s only seven minutes longer than the average game time in 2022.

It’s a brave new, much faster, world.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC

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