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Major League Baseball pitchers are using spring training to test the limits of the new pitch clock rules as they look to gain an edge over hitters.
Driving the news: New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer pushed the boundaries in his Friday start against the Washington Nationals, with the pitch clock playing a role in consecutive third-inning at-bats.
- Scherzer was called for a balk after trying to quick-pitch Victor Robles, with the ump signaling that he didn't give Robles enough time to get set.
- In the next at-bat, Scherzer had a double play wiped away after the ump ruled he'd delivered his pitch after the clock ran out.
- Later in that same at-bat, he successfully pulled off the quick-pitch by ensuring the batter was set this time.
What they're saying: "Everybody up here is looking for a competitive edge … and it's a good time to be testing those things," said Mets manager Buck Showalter.
The big picture: The pitch clock has done much more than speed up pace of play; it's also altered the dynamics of every at-bat.
- For generations, pitchers and hitters have been on relatively equal ground.
- But under these new rules, pitchers "can totally dictate pace" — or at least, they'll be able to once they learn the new rules' limits.
In related news … The Chicago Cubs threw the first spring training no-hitter since 2017 on Friday. And, thanks in part to the pitch clock, the game lasted just two hours, 14 minutes.
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