The new rules changes in Major League Baseball found their way into the action in the Opening Day loss for the Boston Red Sox against the Baltimore Orioles.
And Red Sox star Rafael Devers fell victim to the pitch clock rules at an inconvenient time with Boston trying to mount a rally.
Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale called Devers for a violation to begin the bottom of the eighth, assessing the powerful left-handed hitter with a strike, which resulted in a strikeout. Barksdale deemed Devers, who stayed in the batter’s box, was not ready for a pitch with eight seconds left on the clock despite Orioles relief pitcher Bryan Baker not even being remotely close to being ready to throw toward home plate.
Devers certainly had a shocked reaction to the call as he made his way back to the dugout. But Red Sox manager Alex Cora seemed to be more understanding of the situation, having no issue with what happened as all teams try to adjust to the new rules in play this season.
“That one I got to check. Obviously he wasn’t ready,” Cora told reporters, per team-provided audio. “There were a few things we got toward the end of the week, like pitches to the head and you can reset or big swings. I thought he took a big swing on the previous one, but no excuses. We know the rules. They know the rules. But yeah, that was an out. Overall, I thought it went well.”
Red Sox reliever Chris Martin also had a pitch clock infraction, with his violation occurring to start the top of the ninth. Martin went past the allotted warm up time by a few seconds — pitchers start with two minutes and 15 seconds on the clock between innings and must throw their final warm up pitch with at least 30 seconds still on the clock — which meant he started his encounter with Jorge Mateo down in the count, 1-0.
The veteran right-hander was none too pleased about the call, having words with Barksdale after he recorded three outs. Cora came out of the dugout to make sure Martin wasn’t ejected.
It sure will be a learning process for the Red Sox, and all their opponents, until they get fully comfortable with all the changes to the game this season.