More than likely, tonight's Texas Rangers/Boston Red Sox match-up will be pretty slow. Partly because of two good offenses, one that's extremely good at working the count.
Mostly, because the Red Sox take a ton of time between pitches. As Dave Cameron writes, the Red Sox average 25 seconds between each pitch delivered, and they've been the slowest team since 2007, when they were almost the slowest team.
Wednesday's pitcher Josh Beckett has had the slowest pace of any MLB starter since 2010, averaging a staggering 26.1 seconds between pitches. Tuesday's starter Jon Lester averages merely 23.9 seconds per pitch, only ranking fifth.
That's actually against the rules, by the way.
Major League Baseball Rule 8.04:
When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call Ball. The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.
The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.
If the umpires were correctly calling the rules of Major League Baseball, every Red Sox pitcher would be starting in an 1-0 count. Or they'd adapt quickly and speed it up. Either way, we win.
For some reason, though, it's a rule that isn't enforced. Which is weird, because if there's anything non-baseball fans -- the people Baseball should be going after -- complain about, it's how slow the game is. Cutting the ubiquitous Red Sox-Yankees National Game in half would help. It's even already in the rule book. This seems easy.
I mean, if it's not going to be enforced, why is it even in the rule book? But it's not, so get prepared for a long time on the couch today.