Sewage problems at O.co Coliseum no problem for the Athletics as they cut their magic number to one

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D.J. Short posted earlier about the O.co Coliseum’s latest sewage issue as a result of rain in the Oakland area. The showers caused a two-hour delay while players, coaches, and clubhouse personnel dealt with the primitive conditions indoors. Once play resumed, the A’s wasted no time getting on the board.

Alberto Callaspo contributed an RBI single in the first. In the second, Chris Young hit a sacrifice fly, Yoenis Cespedes singled to left to score two, then Callaspo slugged a two-run home run to left field to cap off a five-run inning.

From there, it was smooth sailing for Athletics starter Jarrod Parker. The right-hander went six strong innings, allowing just one run — a Josmil Pinto home run in the fifth — on four hits and a walk. He only struck out one Twin, but the Athletics were happy to play solid defense behind him.  The offense continued to tack on, as Kurt Suzuki blasted a two-run home run in the seventh and Cespedes added a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth.

A’s relievers Dan Otero and Jerry Blevins teamed up for three shutout innings, finalizing the 9-1 victory. Moving to 92-63, the Athletics reduce their magic number to one. With the Rangers leading the Royals 3-0 late as of this writing, the Athletics will look to wrap up the AL West title tomorrow afternoon behind starter Sonny Gray.

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%.