MLB’s 15 games on Opening Day averaged 2 hours and 45 minutes Thursday, 26 minutes shorter than last year’s average, indicating a successful regular-season start for the pitch clock introduced to shorten games as part of the league’s new rule changes. Here’s what you need to know:
Last year’s Opening Day, with seven games played, averaged 3 hours and 11 minutes.
Not one of the first seven games completed Thursday went as long as last year’s Opening Day average time of games.
Only two of the first seven games completed this year were longer than the shortest game on Opening Day last year. The shortest of last year’s Opening Day games was 2 hours and 49 minutes.
Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman committed the first regular-season pitch-clock violation, while Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers was the first hitter called out for a pitch-clock violation Thursday.
More notable numbers
On Thursday, one of the two games of the first seven that lasted 2:49 or longer was a 10-9 win by the Orioles over the Red Sox, which was 3 hours and 10 minutes.
The Reds vs. Pirates game went 3 hours and 2 minutes. The matchup had 15 walks and 26 strikeouts and neither team’s starter lasted more than five innings.
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
How did the pitch clock perform?
By the end of spring training, it seemed like everyone had not only gotten used to the pitch clock but had also pretty much forgotten about it — except when celebrating a one-hour, 52-minute game as Reds starter Graham Ashcraft did late in spring.
Thursday, though, both the Pirates and Reds starters had a pitch clock violation and both of those plate appearances ended in home runs for the batter. Is that related? Probably not, but there are more shaking off signs in the regular season than in spring where the results don’t matter.