Olney: There’s more to MLB’s three-batter rule than meets the eye


What Major League Baseball wants is for its product to move and flow in a way that attracts new generations of fans, many of whom now treat any hint of boredom with a touch of the next app, moving on to the next thing.

This concern was the motivating factor behind the three-batter minimum rule that has been implemented for 2020: Any reliever called into a game must face at least three batters, or pitch through the end of the inning, with exceptions made for injury or illness.

In recent seasons, the pace of a lot of games slowed dramatically — think of a speeding dune buggy sinking into a mud bog — once managers turned to their bullpen for successive pitching changes. The hope in the commissioner’s office is that the three-batter minimum will keep the game moving, and perhaps foster more offense.

As managers, pitching coaches and front office types try to figure out the impact of the new rule and the best ways to turn it into a strategic advantage, it remains unpopular in some corners.

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