Starting in 2020, Major League Baseball will change forever.
It will impose a new rule forcing relief pitchers to face no fewer than three batters, unless the reliever gets injured or the inning ends. The league wants fewer pitching changes and shorter games.
Imagine if this rule were in place 10 years ago.
Imagine it’s 2010, or 2012, or 2014, the years the Giants won the World Series. Imagine their manager, Bruce Bochy, a future Hall of Famer and a brilliant baseball strategist, isn’t allowed to use his bullpen the way he wants. Isn’t allowed to bring in left-handed specialist Javier Lopez to face only one hitter, a lefty, before being removed, or isn’t allowed to bring in right-handed specialist Sergio Romo to face only one hitter, a righty. Imagine Lopez and Romo each have to face three hitters, potentially both righties and lefties.
Would the Giants win three World Series?
“No,” said former Giants left-handed pitcher Shawn Estes. “They weren’t the best team any of those years. They simply had a manager who always was a step ahead.”
Estes is vehemently against the three-batter rule change, as are fellow former Giants pitchers Vida Blue and Bill Laskey.