While Major League Baseball registered record revenues during the 2018 season, there were more attempts over the winter toward improving pace of play. The Los Angeles Dodgers felt the brunt of that during Tuesday’s loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
When Dodgers manager Dave Roberts came with the hook for Caleb Ferguson in the seventh inning, the left-handed reliever was animated before handing over the ball. Justin Turner and Roberts attempted to diffuse the situation as Ferguson walked off the mound.
Alanna Rizzo later relayed on the SportsNet LA broadcast that Ferguson and Ross Stripling both felt rushed by home plate umpire Doug Eddings.
During his postgame interview, Stripling explained Eddings was instructing pitchers to be done warming up by a certain time, which was not something the right-hander had previously been told to do, via SportsNet LA:
“It’s the first time an umpire has ever told me to be done warming up by a certain time. I’ve never had an umpire say that to me, so that was new. I didn’t necessarily feel rushed, but just because I kind of get out there early and I don’t throw a lot of pitches in general. But if I was coming out of the bullpen in a big situation and I only had time for four pitches, that would certainly be frustrating. … The first two innings he told me, ‘Hey, we need your last pitch done around the 40-second mark so we can get done on time and you won’t get fined.’ … I don’t know the rules but it certainly is frustrating to get rushed. For instance, I was on deck one of the innings and I come out and there’s only like 45 seconds and I’ve got to try and get a couple warmup pitches in real fast.”
MLB implemented a pitch clock during Spring Training, which was enforced in phases over multiple weeks. While Stripling received instruction from Eddings, he didn’t necessarily appear rushed while on the mound.
Though, his struggles to retire Yadier Molina with two outs ultimately loomed large in the Dodgers’ shutout loss.