There will be a new rule for any extra-inning Phillies games this season
It appears the Philadelphia Phillies will play this year after all for 60 games, as Major League Baseball and the players union’s negotiations approached the finish line Monday evening.
And, while meaningful games will be scheduled, they will not be the same as we knew them. For the first time, not only will the designated hitter be implemented in the National League, but, also, a new rule for games that last longer than nine innings will go into effect.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, MLB plans to use Minor League Baseball’s extra-innings rule, where each half-inning begins with a runner on second. MiLB introduced the rule as part of several new pace-of-play initiatives that began last season.
MLB’s intent, according to Heyman, is to expedite extra-inning games ending, since “Spring Training 2.0” will be short, “the schedule will be tight,” and there will a be desire to avoid 15-inning games and longer.
As part of the rule, the last batter of the previous inning will begin the following inning on second base. MiLB also said that if the last batter of the previous inning was the pitcher, the batter in the position before them would be the runner. This, of course, will not need to be considered, with MLB implementing the universal DH for the 2020 season. Also, runners or batters previously removed from the game for a substitute are ineligible to return. If the runner scores, it will not count against the pitcher’s ERA.
The Phillies played 13 extra-innings games last season: four 10-inning games, four 11-inning games, one 12-inning game, one 14-inning game, and three 15-minute games. The longest of those contests lasted 5 hours and 28 minutes, and the Phillies still were not able to come away with the victory.
While this new rule may change how we have ever known extra-inning games, it will only help keep players healthy and ready to go.