Bobby Jenks is back on the hot seat in Chicago

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Bobby Jenks’ blown save Sunday afternoon was his first of the year, but the ugly outing raised his ERA to 6.75 ERA and afterward Ozzie Guillen talked as if switching closers was on his mind.
Matt Thornton is among the league’s top setup men and Jenks’ declining raw stuff made him one of my “bust” picks coming into the season, but stripping him of ninth-inning duties now would seem premature even if a 13-19 record has Guillen looking to shake things up.
Jenks’ average fastball is still above 94 miles per hour and he has 16 strikeouts in 12 innings, so while his days as an elite closer are likely gone he still looks capable of getting back on track. It’ll be interesting to see if Guillen and the struggling White Sox have the patience to let him, because they were rumored to be tiring of Jenks during the offseason.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.