New 20-Pitch Rule Saves Ugly First Inning For New Red Sox Pitcher Garrett Richards

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To say that it was a tough day for Boston Red Sox pitcher Garrett Richards on Monday on the mound would be an understatement.

The Red Sox hurler was part of some spring training Major League history. Because of a new ’20-pitch rule,’ the Sox stopped the first inning after he threw 23 pitches.

In the inning, Richards loaded the bases and walked in a run against the Atlanta Braves before the inning was finally halted.

There was some good news for the pitcher though. He went back out for a second inning and was able to get out of it throwing a 1-2-3 frame.

The new rule that was put in place allows managers to decide whether they want pitchers to keep throwing after 20 pitches or whether to stop the inning and end the frame, no matter how many outs there are.

“It’s building blocks, man,” Richards said after his outing.

“Obviously, you want to finish it and you want to make all the outs that your outing requires,” he said. “So, yeah, it was a little frustrating.”

Richards just seemed to have trouble finding the strike zone. He gave up two runs, three hits and two walks in the first inning before it ended.

“By all means, not happy about it. Today’s outing is not what you’re going to see from me on a regular basis, I’ll tell you that right now,” he said.

“I just needed to stay a little bit more in competitive mode versus mechanical mode. So once that switch kind of flipped, everything kind of felt great again.”

The start was Richards’ first for the Red Sox, after he spent 10 seasons playing out west for the Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."


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  1. What is this rule?!? I am a redsox fan but this is the stupidest rule ever. You can just call an inning over? Is this tee ball? I get it is spring training and the games mean nothing but what about the batter who got his chance to hit with the bases loaded against a struggling pitcher taken away? Some of these fringe roster guys could use those couple of RBIs on the stat sheet. This rule is insane. If you can not get the 3 outs, pull him from the game. Start him tomorrow if you want to see more. Just terrible

  2. This rule is so incredibly dumb. I just noticed it yesterday when I saw most games ended with 7 innings or less. These 5, 6, 7 inning games and the ability to stop an inning when a pitcher reaches a pitch count? What is going on??? I understand these are practice games, but there are also fans there that pay to watch a baseball game, not tee ball as GHigg said above. I don’t want to pay $40 for a ticket to get kicked out after an hour and 15 minutes of 5-inning baseball.

  3. Their main excuse is that all the teams are worried about having enough pitchers to get through the season. They expect a lot of injuries since so little ball was played last year and the injury rate on pitchers has gotten so insane. Not saying what they are doing is right, but that’s their line of thinking.

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