World Series games were way shorter this year

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The USA Today reports that, on average, World Series games were 25 minutes shorter than last year’s games between the Phillies and the Yankees.

The story credits MLB’s efforts at speeding the game along, but does anyone really believe that was the biggest difference? Seems to me that the biggest difference was (a) good pitching and way fewer mid-inning calls to the pen; and (b) teams that, unlike the Yankees, don’t have catchers who make dozens of mound visits a game and hitters who don’t call time when the pitcher takes a fraction of a second longer than usual to start his delivery.  Indeed, in Game 5 we saw two or three instances of guys calling time late, and it was positively jarring because no one had been doing that.

I guess (b) could be chalked up to baseball’s focus on the pace-of-games, but I think it had way more to do with the teams involved than the policies. If New York makes the series again next year I have full faith that game times will creep back up.

Dodgers tab Walker Buehler to start on Monday

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The Dodgers announced that pitching prospect Walker Buehler will be called up to start on Monday against the Marlins. Rich Hill went on the 10-day disabled list with a cracked fingernail, so Buehler will serve as a fill-in while the lefty is out, likely for just one start.

Buehler, a 23-year-old right-hander, made his major league debut last September, making eight relief appearances. He struggled, yielding eight runs on 11 hits and eight walks with 12 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings. He was off to a good start to his 2018 season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, owning a 2.08 ERA with 16 strikeouts and four walks in 13 innings.

Monday will be Buehler’s first major league start. He is the Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect and No. 12 overall in baseball according to MLB Pipeline.