Max Scherzer after balking – Umps “need to understand” pitch clock limits

Associated Press3 minute read

Max Scherzer called for balking after fast pitch

Max Scherzer is called for a denial after moving too quickly for the umpire between pitches.

Max Scherzer has speculated that baseball’s new pitch clock will allow pitchers to dictate the pace of games.

In the eyes of a referee, he ran too fast even for the clock on Friday.

Scherzer tested the limits of baseball’s new pace of play rules in his second start to spring training, trying several unusual tactics to get Washington Nationals batters out of their game. At one point, he began throwing a pitch to Victor Robles as plate umpire Jeremy Riggs reset the clock, and Riggs called Scherzer for a denial.

“He calls the time, I get ready, I get the go-ahead,” Scherzer said. “I thought it was clean ground. He said no. We have to figure out where the line is.”

The Major League Baseball Pitching Clock allowed pitchers and batters to learn a whole new rhythm of play this spring. Players have 30 seconds to resume play between batters. Between pitches, pitchers have 15 seconds to throw the ball unattended and 20 seconds if there is a baserunner.

Batters must be in the box and alert the pitcher with at least eight seconds on the clock, and they only get one timeout per plate appearance.

Some adapt and benefit from the rules more quickly than others. New York Yankees reliever Wandy Peralta rushed to bat so effectively Thursday that he completed a three-pitch strikeout in just 20 seconds.

Scherzer experimented with a few strategies on Friday.

With two goals and two strikes against Riley Adams in the third inning, Scherzer froze in playing position and left the clock up to seven before Adams called timeout.

On the next pitch, Scherzer set up at the start of the 20-second timer. Adams finally entered the box with the clock at 11 seconds, and Scherzer immediately delivered, landing a swinging strike on a 96 mph fastball.

“You can tell they expected me to work fast today, and you can make that work to your advantage by speeding up and slowing down the game,” Scherzer said.

Not all experiments worked. Not only was Scherzer called for a backhand, but he also had an end-of-inning double play called off when umpires ruled he narrowly let the shot clock run out before starting his delivery.

“Max and a lot of veteran pitchers and pitchers in general are going to use this time to test some things and make some adjustments,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “Everyone here is looking for a competitive edge – hitters, pitchers, catchers – and now is a good time to test those things.”

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