TEMPE, Ariz. — When Major League Baseball released its new rules for 2020 on Thursday morning, Dan Jennings could not help but feel concerned for his career.
Starting next year, pitchers will have to face at least three batters before coming out of a game. The intent is to reduce the number of pitching changes and speed up games, but it could make pitchers like Jennings practically extinct.
“I can honestly say I’m glad I’m toward the tail end of my career, because it sucks,” the 31-year-old Angels reliever said. “If I was a young guy, you may not get opportunities because of that stuff. It sucks.”
A situational lefty for most of his career, Jennings has faced two or fewer batters 100 times in the past five seasons, sixth most in the majors in that span.
The players union did not agree to the change, but the commissioner’s office exercised its right to unilaterally implement the new rule.
“It’s going to change strategy,” Manager Brad Ausmus. “It’s probably going to change bullpen construction. I don’t know, I’m sure people are going to try to find loopholes.”
Pitchers are going to have to face three hitters unless the inning ends sooner than that. They can also be removed earlier in the case of injury or illness. Many have suggested that pitchers simply may feign injury as a way around the rule.
“It’s the first thing I’ve heard of that will change the complexion of the game,” Jennings said. “It will change strategy. It will change the roster makeup. I can’t imagine a rule that changes the game play itself. Speeding up the game is one thing, but manipulating game play shouldn’t be a rule.”
Jennings added he felt particularly singled out. Last year with the Milwaukee Brewers, he started a game to face one left-handed hitter, and then the Brewers brought in a righty to pitch the bulk of the innings.
“My name was mentioned as something that can’t happen any more,” Jennings said. “That didn’t sit very well. I’m going to continue to make it known I strongly disagree.”
In his career, Jennings has faced 3.9 batters per game. He’s held lefties to a .251 average and righties to a .263 average. Last year, lefties hit .226 against him and righties hit .320.
“Getting righties out a little more will help my situation, but I also think my track record is I can face righties,” said Jennings. “I have done …read more
Source:: Dailynews – News