A’s bullpen finally has an off night

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Oakland’s bullpen entered Tuesday having gone nine straight games without allowing a run, dating back to Sept. 23. That streak snapped quickly in Game 4, with the bullpen surrendering five runs in two innings in the 8-6 loss.

Sean Doolittle allowed the first two runs, one coming on Victor Martinez’s disputed homer. He hadn’t allowed a run since Sept. 10. Ryan Cook and Brett Anderson combined to allow the other three in the eighth.

It was kind of a surprise to see Anderson in there in the eighth. Jerry Blevins pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings in September to finish the season with a 3.15 ERA, but he hasn’t made an appearance in the ALDS. Anderson, working in more of a long role, gave up seven runs in 12 2/3 innings in September.

The A’s will almost certainly need a bounce-back performance in Thursday’s Game 5. Bartolo Colon did pitch three shutouts in the season, but including his Game 1 loss to the TIgers, he’s pitched more than six innings just once in his last 11 starts.

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.