The 2020 MLB season is very different than what everyone is used to. Not only is the schedule just 60 games long — compared to a typical 162-game season — but extra-inning games also look very different. There is a new rule for extra-inning games, and Mike Clevinger of the Cleveland Indians seems to be pretty pissed about it. In fact, he just sent a stern message to the league about his feelings toward the new rule.
Mike Clevinger has become a talented pitcher for the Cleveland Indians
Clevinger made his MLB debut with the Indians in 2016. He ultimately started 10 games that season, pitched in 17 games total, and had a 5.26 ERA. The Indians made the World Series that season too, and Clevinger appeared in three games in the World Series. He ultimately allowed two earned runs in four innings pitched.
During the 2017 season, Clevinger ultimately started 21 games and had a 3.11 ERA to go with a 12-6 record. Then in 2018, Clevinger had a 13-8 record and a 3.02 ERA in 32 starts. He found success in the postseason that year too, as he started one game in the ALDS against the Houston Astros. He ultimately pitched five innings and only allowed three hits and one earned run.
Clevinger then had the best season of his career in 2019. He went 13-4 with a 2.71 ERA. So far this season, Clevinger pitched seven innings in his one start. He allowed two earned runs and struck out six batters.
The MLB has a new extra-inning rule for the 2020 season
With the 2020 season only being 60 games because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the league does not want games going deep into extra innings, according to CBS Sports.
In an attempt to speed the game along this year, the MLB implemented a new extra-inning rule. The rule puts a runner at second base to start each extra half-inning.
The rule was used for the first time in a 10-inning game against the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels. According to CBS Sports, after Shohei Ohtani struck out to end the top of the ninth inning, he had to be the runner on second base in the 10th inning.
There ended up being a ground ball in the first at-bat, in which the Athletics elected to get Ohtani out at third base. The Angels then later loaded the bases after a single and a walk, but they ultimately could not capitalize. The Athletics then got a chance in the bottom of the 10th.
The Athletics also got to start with a runner on second, and ultimately loaded the bases. Matt Olson then hit a game-winning walk-off grand slam, and Oakland won 7-3.
Mike Clevinger seems pissed about the new rule
After Clevinger’s strong start for the Cleveland Indians in his first outing of the 2020 season, his team ultimately went to extra innings tied 2-2 with the Kansas City Royals.
The Royals went to the plate first in the 10th and took advantage of the new extra-inning rule. They moved their runner on second base to third on a sac bunt and then scored him with a sac fly. That ended up being the game-winning run as the Royals won 3-2.
Clevinger was not happy after the game.
“This isn’t travel ball,” Clevinger said post-game, according to CBS Sports. “You know how hard it is to get a runner on second base off the back end of any bullpen, how incredibly hard that is? I’m not happy about it. I’m sure when other teams face the situation and this happens to them, you’re going to get similar reactions.”
He then later took to Twitter and tagged the MLB’s official account.
Clevinger probably won’t be the first one to show frustration over this rule.
Additionally, according to CBS Sports, the rule has been tested in the minors. So, for Clevinger’s sake, let’s hope that it does not become permanent. While it does speed up the game, it also puts the integrity of the game into question.
This is certainly not the last we’ll hear of this storyline during this crazy MLB season.
Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference