Dodgers grab early lead in Game 1 of NLDS against Braves

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The Dodgers are off to a quick start against the Braves in Game 1 of the NLDS.

After Braves right-hander Kris Medlen struck out the side in the first inning, he gave up two runs in the top of the second. Yasiel Puig helped create one of them, as he reached on a one-out single and then boldly went from first to third on a sharply-hit single to left-center by Juan Uribe. He eventually came home to score on a sacrifice fly by Skip Schumaker.

The Dodgers tacked on another run after A.J. Ellis hit a ball to left field which Evan Gattis failed to catch on the dive. It was ruled as a double, but it was a play most outfielders would usually make. Of course, Gattis is a catcher by trade, but he’s playing the outfield due to the struggles of B.J. Upton.

As for Clayton Kershaw, he had a 1-2-3 first inning and struck out two batters. It’s 2-0 Dodgers as we move to the bottom of the second in Atlanta.

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%.