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D-Backs starter Brandon McCarthy is no fan of lengthy extra-inning games

Jul 5, 2013, 10:45 PM EDT

Brandon McCarthy Getty Getty Images

Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon McCarthy is, in this writer’s humble opinion, the best baseball-related follow on Twitter. Most athletes post religious and/or motivational quotes and typical post-game cliches with a minimum of real interaction with fans, but McCarthy makes it a point to acknowledge at least a good portion of those sending him tweets. He mixes in original and thoughtful tweets about the game he plays along with a nice serving of humor.

Yesterday, McCarthy shared his opinion on extra-inning games in baseball. He doesn’t like them, and thinks games should go no more than 11 innings.

It’s certainly interesting food for thought, even if there’s very little chance anything gets changed. And he’s right about the quality of the game being worse in extra innings: pitchers this year have allowed a .735 OPS in extras, higher than any single regulation inning. The aggregate strikeout-to-walk ratio is a meager 1.8, lower by far than the lowest regulation inning (1st inning, 2.3) and pitchers allow hits on balls in play at a .315 clip compared to the overall .295 league average. That is because, the longer the game goes, the worse the pitching gets as managers reach deeper and deeper into the bullpen, sometimes having to rely on position players pitching. Similarly, the quality of defense falls as managers use one-dimensional pinch-hitters who must then play the field.

  1. chill1184 - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    He does have a point

    • blacksables - Jul 6, 2013 at 5:33 AM

      No he doesn’t. If he doesn’t like the time spent sitting on the bench making millions of dollars a year, he can go back to punching clock and only have to work 9-5, and then get paid for his overtime.

      That should make him happy.

      • mkd - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:13 AM

        Way to jump right past the idea itself and head straight for the old rich-athletes-shouldnt-be-allowed-to-complain-about-anything canard. Maybe he has a point and maybe he doesn’t, but you’ll never know because you’re letting jeleousy kill the messenger. People like you are the reason no one ever says anything interesting any more.

      • ezthinking - Jul 6, 2013 at 10:33 AM

        I’ll save him… the beauty of baseball is that the contest is decided. McCarthy clearly grew up with “no score kept” levels of ball.

        Pretty simple, when you watch a competition, you want to know who won. A tie is just “Fuck it. We’re tired. You spent your money to see a contest, but we all have to get up tomorrow so fuck off.”

        Quite ironic that it’s called twitter, what with all the twits and such.

      • mkd - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:21 PM

        Yeah fans never say fuck it we’re tired and have to get up tomorrow. Which is why the stands are always jam packed for the bottom of the 14th.

  2. aaronzona2011 - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Bud Selig and the 2002 All-Star game agree with McCarthy

  3. rathipon - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    So if the pitching gets worse in extra innings then what’s the problem? Runs will score and the game will end…

    On the other hand, capping the game at 11 innings will certainly influence managers to burn through their better relievers quickly, thus ensuring a greater likelihood of a tie, as less runs will likely score in a late inning tied game. For instance the visiting team manager will have no reason to save his closer past the 11th inning. They probably shouldn’t even now, though many do.

    If you cap innings at 11 you probably would see fewer long relievers and more specialists. Or perhaps teams will carry fewer relievers in general. This might be good, as increased scrutiny of pitch counts has lead to more relievers on the roster and less backup position players. I find that unfortunate, as having fewer position players on the bench means less in game stratgy.

    I suppose it isn’t an argument but more of a preference. Ultimately, the reason I disagree in theory with such a move is I hate the idea of baseball being played against a de facto clock like every other sport. It just seems contrary to the ethos of the game to impose a deadline.

  4. micker716 - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    He’s right about extra innings. It’s almost like having a job.

  5. bankboy2012 - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Blame the rise of the one batter specialist plus the bullpen in general becoming more structured in terms of roles. The modern pitching staff is designed to get it done in 9 and take your chances after that. Sometimes you have enough bullpen left, other times you’re warming up your backup infielder.

  6. nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 6, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    Personally I’ve always loved extra-inning games, as they are great tests of focus and stamina. But besides my preference, picture this: final week of the season, teams A & B are tied for the final wildcard spot and their last game is tied after 11, so they remain tied in the standings and now they must play another game and hope it too doesn’t end in a tie. No, there are things I’d change in MKB, but extra innings isn’t on that list.

  7. Walk - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:10 AM

    If I did not get paid for overtime I would hate to work late as well.

  8. unclemosesgreen - Jul 6, 2013 at 6:00 AM

    Crashburn is right on about McCarthy – he’s witty and engaging. No current player has done more to assure themselves a cushy post-retirement talking head position.

  9. abaird2012 - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    And y’gotta love seeing those position players pitch — seems like every utility infielder wants to take his shot bringin’ that 87 mph heat.

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