NEW YORK — Mets pitcher Max Scherzer is not happy with the strict enforcement of the pitch clock.
Before the fifth inning of Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Phillies at Citi Field, Scherzer spoke with plate umpire Tripp Gibson about the pitch clock enforcement. MLB rules state there are two minutes between innings for local broadcasts, with pitchers allowed eight pitches to warm up. But when Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez made the last out of the fourth, delaying his arrival behind home plate because he needed time to put on catching gear, Scherzer didn’t finish. on his warmup pitch before Gibson signaled the start of the inning, prompting a discussion between the pitcher and umpire.
“Why wouldn’t the umpires have the discretion in that situation to allow eight normal warm-up pitches?” Scherzer said. “Why do we have to be so anal about it to shove the clock in everyone’s face and try to get out every little second that goes into the game?”
According to Scherzer, when he asked Gibson why he couldn’t finish his warmup pitches, the umpire said the league would “be mad at him” if he didn’t strictly enforce the clock. While MLB previously implemented a clock to measure rest times between innings in 2015, it was not strictly enforced, giving umpires leeway to allow pitchers to warm up longer even if the clock time expires.
That changed in 2023, according to Scherzer.
“It’s situations like this that are frustrating not only for pitchers, players, but even umpires,” Scherzer said. “That’s what Tripp said. Tripp is in handcuffs. Why is Tripp in handcuffs to prevent something normal, a normal routine. Why can’t Tripp make a call?”
Scherzer said Gibson wanted him to address the issue publicly because umpires want discretion to give players more time in situations like Thursday, when Alvarez came out later than usual after end of an inning.
“They want to let the game go back to normal,” Scherzer said. “The umpires are frustrated that the game is not normal, that we live and die on the clock. I said I will speak for him. We think too far about the clock in every single situation instead of letting the players have their normal routine.”
Throughout the season, Scherzer has had a love-hate relationship with the pitch clock. In February, he described it as a “cat-and-mouse” game that empowers pitchers to dictate the pace.
“Honestly, the power that the pitcher has right now — I can absolutely dictate the pace,” Scherzer said at the time. “Changing the hitter rule with only one timeout changes the complete dynamic of the hitter-and-pitcher dynamic. I love it.”
The future Hall of Famer tested the boundaries of the rules during spring training, getting called for a balk in his second preseason start in March after he started throwing a pitch to the Washington Nationals outfielder. that Victor Robles when umpire Jeremy Riggs reset the clock.
“We have to figure out where the limit is,” Scherzer said in March.
In Thursday’s start, Scherzer went seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out nine and walking one. The outing marked the third straight quality start for Scherzer, who has a 3.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a 5-2 record in nine starts this season, good for 0.8 bWAR.