Earlier this season, MLB announced several rule changes. While the changes have generally been positive, one, in particular, has favored the American League East Division. Here all the last details.
Changes in the rules, notably the reduction in playing time and the increase in action on the bases, have allowed the action to improve the quality of the game. Overall, there has been an increase in stolen bases and hits per game. These changes have complemented the power of home runs, creating a better show.
Likewise, dominant performances have been seen on the mound, which creates a balanced product on the pitch. Despite the disparity between good and bad teams, the result of the changes has favored a more exciting sport for the fans.
A Change with Unexpected Results
One of the changes introduced, one of which received less attention, was the inclusion of a more balanced schedule where all teams play each other at least once per season. This has created greater opportunities for strong teams to face weaker teams.
That is why this change has greatly favored the East Division of the American League. This division is home to big teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Added to them, the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Rays are strong contenders. Then, the resurgence of the Baltimore Orioles has further complicated this division.
To exemplify the situation, the Red Sox are in last place with a 23-20 mark. This mark would be enough for second place in the Central divisions in the American and National Leagues. On the other hand, the Eastern Division, in general, has a percentage above .500, being the only division in the Major Leagues to perform this feat.
The Determining Factor for Eastern Power
As long as the teams in the Eastern Division do not destroy each other, they have the opportunity to destroy other teams with a lesser advantage. This situation applies to teams in the American League Central Division.
Considering that now all teams are played at least once, this schedule gives access to clubs such as the Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals and even the Chicago Cubs, who would be a source of accessible victories.
By contrast, disadvantaged teams must now face the AL East five times. This condition will only serve to widen the gap between bad and powerful teams.
For now, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see three of the five AL East teams take the AL wild card three wild cards, leaving room only for the Central and West Division winners. Meanwhile, the probability of seeing a team from the East in the World Series will be very high.
Mound Changes Are Working
From May 11, when the new pitching clock came into effect, 23.3% of the MLB season, totaling 565 games, recorded a decline in the average time for a nine-inning game. Comparatively, the length of the game has been shortened by 28 minutes, compared to last year’s average at the same point. Presently, at 2 hours and 37 minutes, the duration of the game is considerably lower than it was last year, which stood at an average of 3 hours and 5 minutes.
The allotted time between pitches appears satisfactory based on the pitch timer. Pitchers typically initiated their windup when there were approximately 6.6 to 8.1 seconds remaining on the clock, contingent on factors such as commencing a fresh inning or joining the game, whether runners were present or not. Pitchers had 15 seconds to pitch when there were no runners on base, and 20 seconds when there were runners present.
The result may surprise some baseball fans. The number of rule violations is decreasing, which is also speeding up the games.