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Wednesday was another interesting one in Major League Baseball news. We followed up Tuesday’s playoff proposal news with Wednesday’s announcement of the new rules going into effect this season.
Here is your daily Dr. Feelgood…
OFF THE TOP
Major League Baseball announced rule changes for the 2020 season on Wednesday. These changes were announced prior to the 2019 season but they were made official yesterday.
Probably the most controversial rule of the bunch is the new three batter minimum for all pitchers. Pitchers have to face at least three batters or pitch until the inning is over.
There has been plenty of complaining about removing the lefty specialist from the game. It might do that. But notice the details of the rule. Pitchers can pitch to less than three batters if they end the inning. Baseball has had a batter minimum forever. This just extends that batter minimum from one to three. The change might have minimal impact on the game but any time there are fewer chances to see managers walk to the mound to change pitchers the better. Nobody attends a game to watch Terry Francona walk to the mound four times in an inning. Frankly, that’s boring and I’m a huge baseball fan.
The roster size increased from 25 to 26 players and a hard limit of 13 pitchers was implemented. This means that teams will have a minimum of 13 position players available for each game. In September these limits increase to 28 players on the roster and 14 of those players may be pitchers. Teams are still allowed to call up an extra player in special situations such as doubleheaders. That extra player can be either a position player or a pitcher.
Two-way players are now a designation. Those players count against the position player limit but are allowed to pitch and don’t count towards the pitcher limit. Two-way players have innings pitched and position player game requirements from the previous season to be eligible for the designation. Position players will be allowed to pitch if a game goes into extra innings or if one team is ahead by more than six runs.
Pitchers and two-way players are back to the 15-day injured list. Position players still have a 10-day injured list. These same lengths apply to anyone optioned to the minor leagues.
Finally, the manager challenge time limit was reduced from 30 seconds to 20 seconds. Managers will have 20 seconds to decide if they want to challenge a play. This is the only rule change we had not previously heard.
KANSAS (58) AT WEST VIRGINIA (49)
It wasn’t an easy game for Kansas but they continued to fight back in the second half and were able to pull off a nine-point win in Morgantown, West Virginia. Kansas held West Virginia to 35% shooting inside the arc and 24% shooting behind it.
West Virginia did a good job on Udoka Azubuike most of the night. Azubuike was limited to just six points on 3-for-6 shooting.
Isaiah Moss was terrific for Kansas. He provided the long-distance shooting the Jayhawks need to be at their best. He was 3-for-5 from behind the arc in this game and ended with 13 points. His success limited Christian Braun’s time to just 16 minutes.
Marcus Garrett had yet another nice defensive game and attacked the basket pretty well. He ended with nine points on 4-for-10 shooting, seven rebounds, five steals, and four assists. He did have way too many turnovers (6) in the game but he does so much for his team.
I talked in the Sunday podcast about the three-point shooting problem the Jayhawks have, especially with Marcus Garrett and Devon Dotson, and it showed in this game. Those two combined for 1-for-6 shooting behind the arc. Opponents can lay off of Garrett and Dotson and help more on Azubuike inside. I am really surprised we don’t see more of this. Azubuike should be at least doubled every time he touches the ball. In fact, I would just double-team him with one defender in front and one behind and not even worry about Marcus Garrett until he gets the ball in the paint.
The win improved Kansas to 10-1 in the Big 12 to remain just one game behind Baylor for the conference lead. Kansas hosts Oklahoma on Saturday at 11 am and then Baylor hosts West Virginia at 3 pm.
- C Salvador Perez has no restrictions in Spring Training. He is scheduled to see a doctor today to see how his recovery is progressing.
- Defensive lineman Mike Pennel said that he would like to return to the Chiefs in 2020. Pennel is from Topeka, Kansas.
IN THE NEWS
- Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett was reinstated by the NFL.
- Astros pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training Wednesday. The team denied media access to the facility so today should be the first day we hear from the team.
- The Seattle Mariners agreed on a one-year, $2 million contract with RHP Taijuan Walker.
TODAY: College basketball tonight has Colorado at Oregon at 8:00 pm on ESPN. Colorado leads the Pac 12 with an 8-3 conference record. Oregon trails the Buffaloes by just one game so this could pull them even. KenPom has Oregon as a three-point favorite.
PODCAST: Sunday’s podcast was a lot of fun and I covered a lot of ground from the Chiefs’ outlook for the offseason to the local college basketball teams to the Royals’ roster situation entering Spring Training and beyond. I also argue against subsidizing rural Internet access as more games are being shown on streaming services. Give it a listen when you have some time. Let me know what you think.
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Thanks for reading…