R.A. Dickey Getty

R.A. Dickey throws his second straight one-hitter


R.A. Dickey’s incredible stretch of success continued tonight, as he carved up the Orioles for his second straight one-hitter as part of a 5-0 victory.

There was no controversy over the lone hit tonight, as Wilson Betemit ripped a clean single to right-center field with two outs in the top of the fifth inning. Still, he was nothing short of sensational, striking out a career-high 13 while walking just two.

Dickey is the first pitcher to throw back-to-back one-hitters since Dave Steib with the Blue Jays in 1988. The 37-year-old knuckleballer is the first National League hurler to do it since Jim Tobin of the Boston Braves back in 1944.

Over Dickey’s last six starts, he has allowed just two runs (one earned) while striking out 63 and walking five over 48 2/3 innings. He now leads the majors with 11 wins and finds himself tied for the major league lead in both ERA (2.00 ERA, tied with Brandon Beachy) and strikeouts (103 strikeouts, tied with Justin Verlander). Simply remarkable.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.

Billy Beane promoted to VP, David Forst named A’s general manager

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I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.

The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.

Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”

Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.