Miami got one in the bottom of the 4th, Washington got one in the top of the 5th… and that’s how it ended, 1-1. It was the third tie for the Nats, fifth for the Marlins in 2021 Spring Training.
Patrick Corbin worked around four baserunners—two hits, two walks—to notch three scoreless innings. He notched three K’s while throwing 46 pitches, 27 for strikes.
Once again, “our guys” were limited to
hangin’ out the passenger side of their best friends’ ride coming off the bench or in relief:
- Luis García pinch-hit for Victor Robles in the 7th, grounding out, and played 2B on defense.
- Jackson Cluff subbed for SS Trea Turner in the 7th and lined out to 1st to end the 8th to remain hitless for the spring
- Jakson Reetz is still missing his “c” but picked up his first hit of the spring as the second backstop of the game
- Matt Cronin threw his first clean inning of the spring, dispatching the Marlins in order on nine pitches (five strikes)
Today is an off day. The Nats return to West Palm Beach to host the Mets tomorrow night at 6:05 p.m. It’ll be the first game broadcast over the radio (980 AM).
MLB is apparently not content to use its partner leagues (note the plural) for its rules experimentation, as it announced yesterday it will use MiLB too:
- Larger bases in AAA – 18″ x 18″, which is believed to result in fewer collisions/injuries while slightly increasing success rate of stolen bases
- Two-phase rules against IF shifts at AA – 1st half, no IFs in the OF; 2nd half, more than two IFs on either side of 2B
- Pitchers must step off the rubber entirely before a pickoff attempt at High-A, which resulted in more SB attempts and a higher success rate when implemented in the Atlanic League in 2019
- Limit of two pickoffs per baserunner at all Low-A Levels; a third attempt is allowed, but a failure will be called a balk
- ABS system in the Low-A Southeast (used in AFL in 2019); pitch clocks and between-innings timers in the Low-A West (used in FSL in 2019)
BA implied that the Atlantic League would continue to be used for further experiments in 2021.
While it’s hard to argue against efforts to speed up (read: enforce existing rules) time between pitches and innings, it’s particularly egregious to mess with young pitchers at the lower levels in their efforts to learn how to hold on runners and improve their command. As noted in the comments in the fall of 2019, the ABS was not well received in the AFL, with high, hard pitches being called strikes more often (probably not bad, given the general lowering of the strike zone since the 1980s) and low, breaking pitches being called strikes less often (definitely bad if it’s over the plate). There was consensus that side-to-side was fine.
I’m ambivalent about rules against IF shifts because, in general, they ought not to be used in the first place. Good hitters ought to be able to learn to exploit them often enough that employing them is a waste of time. Yes, even power hitters because sometimes you do need to go with the pitch the other way – especially RHBs.
But I’m more irritated that this is being implemented when MLB recently tripled the number of leagues with which it could conduct such experiments.