All-star pitchers are out for a while as they recover from pitching-related strains. Is the pitch clock to blame or is there another factor?

As we kick off the second season of the pitch clock, pitchers have been dropping like flies with injuries. Many starting pitchers, who are crucial to their team’s rotation, will be out for either a few months or the remainder of the season.

The pitch clock was one change to the game that many fans and players did not agree with but was implemented by the league to make the game go faster. When the pitch clock went into effect in 2023, pitchers would have 15 seconds to deliver the pitch and 20 seconds if there is a runner on base. Now pitchers have 18 seconds to pitch if there’s someone on base.

Recently, a few crucial rotation pitchers have been placed on the injury list. ESPN reports that “Cleveland’s Shane Bieber, Atlanta’s Spencer Strider, the New York Yankees’ Jonathan Loáisiga, Miami’s Eury Pérez and Oakland’s Trevor Gott are among the pitchers diagnosed with elbow injuries.” Shane Bieber will undergo Tommy John surgery and Spencer Strider is out for the season with a damaged UCL.

Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) executive director, Tony Clark, came out with a statement blaming the pitch clock for these injuries.

The MLBPA accused the MLB of not caring enough about the players in a statement saying, “The league’s unwillingness thus far to acknowledge or study the effects of these profound changes is an unprecedented threat to our game and its most valuable asset — the Players.”

Injuries like the ones we’ve seen so far this season have been happening far longer than the pitch clock has been in effect so it’s hard to say whether or not the pitch clock is to blame after just one season with it. 

To shut down accusations that the clock is to blame, the MLB has done a research study with John Hopkins University (JHU) where they found “no evidence to support that the introduction of the pitch clock has increased injuries…no evidence that pitchers who worked quickly in 2023 were more likely to sustain an injury than those who worked less quickly on average. JHU also found no evidence that pitchers who sped up their pace were more likely to sustain an injury than those who did not.”

The League’s main reason for implementing a pitch clock was to cut down on long games played, but that’s the fun of a game, the unknown. There is no game without a pitcher. The only solution is to study the pitch clock closely before reducing time and study the pitchers that are already out on injury, ask them what they think led up to their injury.

I believe that the pitch clock is to blame for these injuries. Before the pitch clock, we didn’t have as many players on injury as we do now. It may be that we didn’t see as many injuries in the 2023 season because it could have been an adjustment period. When the pitch clock was originally announced, I was not happy, as were many other baseball fans. My biggest issue was rest time, my team’s pitchers like to take their time with full motion. If they can’t take their time, they can’t throw a good enough pitch to either strike out the batter or give them a pitch worthy of a hit.

This isn’t an issue that affects certain pitchers, it affects all pitchers and if they aren’t doing well then the batters can’t do well. I say we get rid of the pitch clock and give the pitchers more time to throw good pitches so we can watch some genuinely good baseball. True baseball fans don’t care if the game is longer than usual. We care that we get to see a good ball game where players are putting out their best work and not accommodating to the clock.