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#pounditMonday, May 20, 2024

Phillies appear to have bizarre pitch clock issue at home games

Rob Thomson at a press conference

Oct 19, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; Philadelphia Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson (59) speaks to the media before the game against the San Diego Padres on game two of the NLCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies are convinced that they are dealing with an unusual issue during home games, and data actually backs up their theory.

Phillies players believe their pitch clock at Citizens Bank Park is somehow faster than other ballparks’ clocks, and it is an open secret in the clubhouse.

“I pitched in Cincinnati and I felt like I could catch the ball and turn around and then (the clock) would start,” Phillies pitcher Matt Strahm told Matt Gelb of The Athletic. “When I got home and threw that next start, I threw fewer pitches, but was way more winded by the third inning. I was like, ‘What the heck is going on?’ As soon as I catch the ball and by the time I look at the pitch clock, it’s somehow at 13 seconds.”

Phillies pitchers Aaron Nola and Taijuan Walker have also noticed the faster pitch clock, and data suggests there is something going on. In 26 games at Citizens Bank Park, there have been 25 pitch timer violations, significantly more than any other stadium. Nola told Gelb that he was not surprised by that data.

The situation was noticeable enough that the Phillies voiced concerns to the league office a month ago. The league said it would address inconsistencies, but things do not appear to have changed.

“We come home and it’s the fastest in the league,” Walker said. “We were just on the road for two weeks, and then we come home and speed everything up.”

Pitch clock complaints are not necessarily new, and some are more justified than others. If there is a clear difference in how things are being run in Philadelphia compared to the rest of the league, that is something the league should be addressing. Based on the numbers and the perception, there is clearly an issue here.


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