Red Sox Relay Explanation Of Kenley Jansen’s Pitching Violations

Jansen was none too pleased with his violation calls Saturday


May 13, 2023

Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen didn’t need any help blowing another save against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday afternoon.

He got it anyway.

Jansen wasn’t very good by any means, failing to locate his pitches and allowing three runs (two earned) on three walks and one hit in a disastrous ninth inning. The poor showing allowed St. Louis to take a 4-3 lead, with Boston going down with a whimper in the bottom of the inning on its way to a loss. Things weren’t as cut and dry as Friday, though. Jansen got knocked around in the series opening loss, but saw three pitching violations combine with a struggle to command his cutter and aid the Cardinals’ victory.

That’s right, Jansen was called for three (!!!) violations. They just weren’t the same ones we’ve become familiar with over the course of the 2023 season. If you’re confused, listen to Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s explanation.

“The pitcher needs to give the hitter time to be in the box and alert,” Cora said on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I think the whole thing was — they were getting in the box at eight (seconds) and Kenley was going already. They give you a warning and then after that they give you an automatic ball.”

The typical “pitch clock violation” rules are simple. The batter has to be in the box and alert prior to the clock hitting the 8-second mark. The pitcher then has to begin his wind up between that 8-second mark and the expiration of the clock. The issue Saturday was what MLB umpires consider to be a “quick-pitch violation” where they believe Jansen didn’t give the batter — which in this case was Willson Contreras — enough time to prepare for each pitch.

There were many who believed the 35-year-old would struggle with the pitch clock due to his history of being one of the slowest pitchers in Major League Baseball, but Jansen had adjusted well throughout the beginning of the season. That was until the Cardinals threw a wrinkle at him Saturday, clearly looking to gain a leg up on one of baseball’s best ever closers.

“I kind of got confused a little bit because Contreras was looking at me,” Jansen said, as seen on NESN. “When I saw the tape, his hands was up and he’s looking at me so I’m gonna come home.”

The problem? Contreras kept one foot out of the box, meaning he technically wasn’t ready to face the pitch.

“That’s the mistake that I made. I let that throw me off,” Jansen explained postgame. “It just messed up my whole game. The explanation is that both feet have to be in the box, I guess. You can clearly see that we cannot mess with the hitters, but they’re looking at us with one foot out. … I guess hitters can mess with us, so that’s good.”

In case you couldn’t tell, that was sarcasm.

The rules were always going to be choppy as MLB implemented them. It just so happens that Jansen and the Red Sox were on the losing end of this adjustment that surely will be made soon. Well, at least we hope they make an adjustment, because things could get ugly if they don’t.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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