Dodgers take early 2-0 lead in NLDS Game 2, benefit from reviewed tag play

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The Dodgers pushed across the first run of NLDS Game 2 in the bottom of the third inning against the Cardinals against starter Lance Lynn. Catcher A.J. Ellis led off the inning with a double, and advanced to third base on Zack Greinke’s bloop single to shallow right field.

Dee Gordon went ahead 2-0, then fouled off four consecutive pitches from Lynn before grounding weakly to second baseman Kolten Wong. Wong fielded the ball and rushed towards Greinke to apply the tag before throwing the ball to first baseman Matt Adams in time to complete the double play, or so they thought.

The replay showed Wong tagging Greinke with an empty glove, as he had the baseball in his throwing hand in an attempt to hurry the throw. Manager Don Mattingly, after getting the go-ahead from bench coach Tim Wallach, asked the umpires to review the play. They did, and reversed the call based on the obvious evidence from the replay. Greinke went to second base with the Dodgers ahead 1-0. (The run scoring was never in question, as there were no outs with Gordon at the plate.)

The Dodgers took advantage of the call reversal. After Yasiel Puig struck out for the second out of the inning, Adrian Gonzalez ripped an RBI single to right-center field to score Greinke, putting the Dodgers up 2-0. Matt Kemp flied out to right field to end the inning.

We’re guessing that, even with Greinke on the mound, a two-run lead is far from comfortable for the Dodgers given what happened on Friday night.

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%.