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Fast-Working Pitchers

April 25, 2021

Fast-Working Pitchers

April 19, 2021


Entering Monday, the average time of a nine-inning game this season is 3 hours and 9 minutes. It hasn’t been below 3 hours since 2015 (2:56).

If you’re looking for fast-working pitchers, they do still exist. Here are the pitchers who have a history of working the quickest.

Fastest Time Between Pitches Since 2016
Active pitchers, minimum 75 starts

Pitcher Current Team Avg Time Between Pitches (Seconds)
Wade Miley Reds 18.3
Steven Matz Blue Jays 18.6
Brett Anderson Brewers 18.9
German Márquez Rockies 19.3
Jakob Junis Royals 19.6
Carlos Martínez Cardinals 19.6
>>Source: Statcast

I made it a point to go to a game featuring Mark Buehrle and Chris Sale on July 6, 2015. Sale came up with the White Sox when Buerhle was there and Sale modeled his fast-working style off of Buehrle’s approach. When this game occurred, Buehrle had moved on and was pitching for Toronto. Buehrle and Sale were two of the fastest workers in MLB at the time of the game.

The highlight of the game was Buehrle twice striking out Avisaíl García on three pitches. The first strikeout took 23 seconds from the time Buehrle got strike one to the moment when García struck out. The second took 27 seconds. It took me a lot longer to type these last two paragraphs than it took for both strikeouts to happen.

The game was played in 1 hour and 54 minutes. There hasn’t been a nine-inning game played quicker since that one. But there have been 10 nine-inning games that took at least four hours this season.

Maybe Buehrle could come out of retirement and show these guys how it’s done. He’s only 42 years old :) 


COMMENTS (7 Comments, most recent shown first)

I agree that the pitchers have their share of the time delay, but I am a firm believer that the batters are more the culprit than pitchers (and are also going to be very resistant to changing their ways). What really brought that point home to me was seeing an old video of Mike Hargrove batting. Hargrove, as you probably know, was nicknamed the Human Rain Delay for the routine he did at the plate between every pitch. What struck me is that back then, we thought he was so unusual that we called him a rain delay and yet, now EVERY batter takes as much time between pitches as he did back then.​
1:24 PM Apr 28th
Wade Miley reworked his entire game on the philosophy of doing exactly what Mark Buehrle did. When Miley came up he was an entirely different pitcher, but when he fell into a career crisis in 2016-2017, he decided to remake himself in the image of Mark Buehrle. He thought, "Well, Buerhle got to 214 wins, and I've got the same kind of stuff he did, so I'm just going to everything he did."
9:03 PM Apr 27th
If the proposed clock doesn't apply to the batter as well as the pitcher, it won't work.
8:55 AM Apr 27th
It would be interesting to see what the times were 40 years ago. I m guessing these guys would have been among the slowest in the 80's.
5:53 PM Apr 26th
About twenty years ago, New Jersey didn't allow high school batters to leave the batter's box after every pitch (there were exceptions, of course) the 7-inning games shortened by 15-20 minutes. Alas, the change was short-lived.
9:03 AM Apr 26th
There were people who didn't want a shot clock in the NBA, and then in the NCAA, and then reducing it....Please MLB don't listen to players and managers! You are in the entertainment business and will survive if a pitcher has to throw a pitch in 20-25 seconds.
7:34 AM Apr 26th
It will be interesting to see which pitchers are really hurt and really helped by a pitch clock when it comes.
Also, just curious -- does pitch clock start from the instant the previous play or pitch is over, or as soon as catcher throws ball back to pitcher and pitcher catches it, or some other way? Does anybody know?
7:08 AM Apr 26th
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