The Salt River Rafters, the Arizona Fall League team that features several Colorado Rockies, has been on a roll lately. In particular, catching prospect Ryan Casteel is having a nice fall with a .296 average and .813 OPS. But the most interesting aspect of last night's game is right there in the headline: the game featured a shot clock--erm, I mean pitch clock.
This is the second game of the fall to involve this big honking thing.
Jonathan Mayo has an extensive breakdown of the new Fall League rules. If you violate the 20-second time limit to deliver your pitch, the umpire calls a ball.
Supposedly it is working: the average AFL game that includes the pitch clock is less than two and a half hours long. Compared to the current postseason games, which routinely stretch past four hours, the Fall League players must look like they're playing with a Benny Hill soundtrack.
On the other hand ... good lord that's horrible. It might work in the AFL, which is a league that's just a bunch of kids trying to get some extra work, with hardly anybody watching. But the idea of Clayton Kershaw, on a full count, with runners on first and second, pausing to take a deep breath, the crowd's going nuts, he's ready to deliver a curve ball to Troy Tulowitzki in an effort to maintain a shutout in the eighth inning ... BZZZZZTTTT. Sorry Clayton, you took too long, that's a walk.
I know what you're thinking: that's completely unrealistic. The Rockies would never get two men on against Kershaw. You're probably right, but substitute another team in there and it's still a big problem. I can hardly come up with an idea that would deflate the game more than a pitch clock. Old Hoss Radbourn would roll over in his grave. Then he'd fire off some snarky tweets.
The AFL is a great place to experiment: it's where instant replay, safety helmets, and other time saving measures went through beta phase. The things that work are implemented in MLB; the things that don't get chucked. I'd imagine the pitch clock gets chucked. There are other ways to speed up pace of play that doesn't make the game look like the NBA.
Well I should hope so. According to that article a blown April game against the Padres stayed in his head for a month--not exactly the mental toughness you want from a shutdown reliever. We'll dive in-depth on Rex Brothers' season soon here at Purple Row - what's that, his spot on Ranking the Rockies came up over a week ago? Yuck. Brothers' maddening season was emblematic of the 2014 Rockies as a whole.
Oh yeah, I guess there's some non-Rockies stuff to talk about. It's officially going to be the Giants' even year magic versus the Royals' team-of-destiny magic in this year's Fall Classic. You have to root for the Royals here, if only because three world titles in five years just isn't fair. Freakin' Giants.