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Major League Baseball: Five pace of play change ideas

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Limit the number of replacements in an inning

With the increase of sabermetrics in baseball, the usage of speciality players has also grown.  This is even more true with pitchers.  Every team carries situation specialists – guys you bring in with two outs, pitchers better versus left-handed hitters  and hitters better at bunting than their teammates.

If there is a special situation in baseball, odds are there is a player on the roster that specializes in it.  This brings me specifically to relief pitchers facing one hitter and then leaving for a new pitcher.

That practice was a specialty of Tony LaRussa and it made the game unbearable to watch – in my opinion. Constantly bringing in one pitcher for one batter and then bringing in another for the next. It wasn’t uncommon to see him go through five relief pitchers in a game.  When this happens, you start to wear down the bullpen.  What happens when the bullpen is taxed? We start to see actual position players come in and pitch an inning – while that is funny to see, it’s not exactly the ideal situation.

The situation pitcher is a smart tactic used – I’m not going to debate that.  Pitchers need to be able to go more than one batter.  This change needs to be made for the well-being of the game – even if it isn’t a popular decision with half of the teams in the league.  This is one that has to be done.  This will also cause some teams maybe to carry less relievers and an extra hitter or two, which again, in my opinion wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Next: Just take your base

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