Major League Baseball is watching you, Los Angeles Dodgers. And, in between the yawns, the league has told the team to pitch faster, or else face hilariously weak-sounding fines. Only two other teams — the Tampa Bay Rays at 3 hours, 18 minutes and the New York Yankees at 3:12 — take longer to play nine-inning games than the Dodgers at 3:10.
The averages do not include extra-inning games, but if they did: The Dodgers have gone to extras a league-high 10 times, and they even played a five-hour game.
The Dodgers have only a 30-28 record, so they're not getting more for the wait, either.
Reporter Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes:
The warning cited a number of Dodgers pitchers for their violations of baseball’s “pace of game” regulations. A number of relievers were cited for taking too long to get from the bullpen to the mound when entering the game. Continued violations could result in $5,000 fines though none of the players have been fined to date.
Five thousand dollars. That'll keep 'em on task. As far as starting pitchers go (or don't go) for L.A., CBS Eye on Baseball reports that right-handers Josh Beckett and Zack Greinke are particularly slow to the plate. Plunkett joked that, "surprisingly," no Dodgers hitters were warned. Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez, he writes, take forever during their at-bats.
A person in a good position to affect a change is Don Mattingly, and he doesn't sound particularly interested in doing anything. Mattingly said he hadn't really noticed that the pace was dragging, nor did he think the slow pace contributed to his team's occasionally poor defense.
So, don't expect the Dodgers (or any other teams) to go faster as a result of threats from the league or edicts by a manager. Only the umpires can make the players go faster, and unless it's an obvious stall, they're not going to mess with the players' pace of the game because the pace belongs to the players. They'll have to want to go faster. And they obviously don't.
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