Rainiers Take Unusually Long 1-0 Game

Tacoma picked up a 1-0 victory over Reno last night in a ten-inning game, ending a brief two-game losing streak.

Hisashi Iwakuma started and went four innings (he’s the focus of the Rainiers game story – always the first link down below). Then David Rollins, Edgar Olmos, and Forrest Snow went the rest of the way, with the quartet combining on a five-hit shutout.

After the game, the talk of the press box was how long the game took.

Pace of play has been an emphasis of the Commissioner’s Office and of course you can see the experimental pitch clocks at Cheney Stadium. And there is no doubt about it: the rule changes are working in Triple-A, and games have been significantly shorter.

So why on earth did a 1-0 game last three hours, 27 minutes? Sure, it was ten innings, but even a ten-inning 1-0 game should be done in well under three hours with the new rules in place.

A few things made this game super-long:

  1. Foul balls. Iwakuma struggled to put away hitters after getting two strikes on them, and Reno batters hit a ton of foul balls against him. Even though he didn’t allow any runs, he reached his pitch count (75 max) after four innings because of the foul balls.
  2. Mid-inning pitching changes. Reno manager Phil Nevin made four mid-inning pitching changes, including three during the seventh inning when he was playing match-up games like he was Tony LaRussa managing the Cardinals. With two minutes, 30 seconds on the countdown clock for a pitching change, this adds up to ten extra minutes of game time.
  3. Strategy meetings. As the game reached the late innings and it became clear that one run would likely decide the outcome, there were additional meetings on the mound to discuss strategy.
  4. Batters being granted time out. Reno hitters constantly called time out to reset the pitch clock, and home plate umpire Jordan Ferrell allowed this. Many of the time outs were called as Tacoma’s pitcher was about to begin his delivery.

None of these things can be changed to speed up the game, except for the last one. Even with the pitch clocks, the entirety of the game of baseball still operates without time limits. Games like this can still happen.

It all added up to the Rainiers longest game of the season (in terms of time). The previous longest game was a 3:14.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Shawn O’Malley‘s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the tenth inning brought home pinch-runner John Hicks with the game’s only run, and Tacoma beat Fresno 1-0. It was Tacoma’s first 1-0 win since April of 2014.

Today: El Paso (37-36) at Tacoma (35-38), 7:05 (Pacific).

Opponent Affiliation: San Diego Padres.

Season Series: El Paso leads, 5-3.

Starting Pitchers: RHP Chris Smith (1-2, 3.48) at RHP Jordan Pries (3-1, 5.06)

Hot Rainiers: All of the Rainiers hitting streaks died last night. How about the Rainiers bullpen, as a unit? Over the last four games, Tacoma relievers have allowed three runs over 18.2 innings for a 1.45 ERA.

Look Out For: Alex Dickerson has an eight-game hitting streak, and he’s hit safely in 19 of his last 20 games (29×82, .354). Jedd Gyorko also has an eight-game streak, with three homers during that span. El Paso is playing well – they’ve won six of the last eight games, and are 10-5 over the last 15. However, they made four errors and dropped a 9-1 clunker to Albuquerque last night.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

Tonight is the Friday Night Fireworks night before the July 3rd Fireworks Extravaganza. It’s like an opening act.

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