Jansen Called for Three Pitch Timer Violations in the Same Inning
Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen was called for three pitch timer violations by plate umpire Derek Thomas in Boston on May 13, 2023 when the Red Sox fell to the Cardinals, 4-3. Jansen fell victim to the Max Scherzer rule that was born in a spring training game.
With the BoSox holding a 3-1 lead in the top of the 9th inning against St Louis, Jansen began the inning by walking Paul Goldschmidt on four pitches before committing a pitch timer infraction during Willson Contreras’ at-bat. Thomas actually warned Jansen the first time he violated, but Jansen was flagged for violating the rule two more times during Contreras’ at-bat, leading to another walk.
Despite Thomas and Crew Chief Vic Carapazza meeting with Jansen and other Red Sox players on the mound to inform them of the rule, Jansen once again violated during Lars Nootbaar’s at-bat. When the inning ended Jansen not only blew the save but took the loss giving up three runs. Goldschmidt, Contreras, and Nolan Gorman all scored.
- The rule violated was a pace of play initiative by MLB that prohibits a pitcher from coming set (in Set Position) prior to the batter taking their position in the batter’s box and becoming alert to the pitcher (in an imminent hitting stance). A more formal wording reads, Penalty: A pitcher coming set before the batter is in the box and alert is warned the first time they infract. After this, any subsequent violations will result in an automatic ball added to the count.
- A hitter must be alert and ready in the box to hit with 8 seconds remaining on the clock or he’s charged with an automatic strike. But the pitcher also can’t throw the baseball before 8 seconds if the hitter isn’t ready, or he’ll be charged with an automatic ball.
- Contreras had one foot out of the batter’s box when Jansen started to the plate. Jansen thought Contreras was ready to hit because Contreras looked at him and had his bat in position to hit.
- Jansen admitted that he has to make sure both of the batter’s feet are in the box. Contreras presumably was looking at the clock and waiting until it got to 8 seconds to put his second foot in the box.
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