November 13, 2022

The Only Effect Of The Extra-Inning-Runner-On-Second: Pushing Long-Time Fans Away From The Game

Mike Emeigh, a fellow member of the Society for American Baseball Research, shared some data on the extra-inning-runner-on-second and its effect on the length of games.

The rule was first used during the 2020 season.

                                       2019               2020-21
Games Played                        2429              3327
Extra-Inning Games                208 (8.6%) 284 (8.5%)
Extra-Innings Played                478 (2.3)           397 (1.4)
Runs Scored                          422 (.88/EI)      808 (2.04/EI)
EI Games Lasting At Least 12 innings     59 (28.3%)      22 (7.7%)
EI Games Lasting At Least 15 innings     16 (7.7%)          1 (0.35%)
Longest Game (Innings)               19                16
Average Length of EI Game (Innings)   11.3            10.4

The percentage of games that are tied after nine innings has stayed the same, but there are, as you would expect, more runs scored per extra-inning and a much higher percentage of games are decided by the eleventh inning.

What is interesting: Using the EIROS shortens the average extra-inning game by only one inning

In April 2021, I wrote:

In 2019, MLB teams played 2,429 games. (I searched for games in which the winning team pitched 9.1+, 10.1+, and 11.1+ innings.

2,221 games were completed in nine innings, or 91.5%.

2,312 games were completed in ten innings, or 95.2%.

2,370 games were completed in eleven innings, or 97.6%.

The entire 2019 season had a grand total 59 games that lasted more than two extra-innings. (That averages out to two games per team. Checking a few teams: Red Sox (6 games, 3-3), Yankees (3 games, 1-2), Padres (1 game, 1-0), Nationals (1 game, 0-1), Royals (1 game, 0-1).)

37 games went more than 12 innings. That's 1.52%. Or one game per week.

Excessively long games is not a problem.

I have written before that it is now possible for a pitcher to throw a perfect game and lose. Or, to put it another way, a pitcher can allow no opposing batters to reach base and lose the game when an opposing batter scores a run. Do we need any other reasons never to institute such a rule?

SABR's Trent McCotter made the same point in the summer of 2020 when he wrote:

[I]t is now possible for a team to have more runs scored than baserunners – a logical impossibility under the rules used for the last 150-plus years of baseball.

In the spring of 2021, McCotter stated:

MLB's supposedly temporary rule . . . saved only about (on average) 75 seconds of time on the field in each game, given the average time of an inning. Other disagree, but as for me, I'd rather give up 75 seconds, get rid of the gimmicky rule, and revert to the one that was good enough for the first 150 seasons.


FenFan said...

It is truly astonishing -- or maybe it isn't -- that MLB continues to make rule changes that seem to make no logical sense. The EIROS is a perfect example of this, especially now that we have data to prove its ineffectiveness. I would also include the intentional walk that now requires no pitches to be thrown but does little to shorten the average length of game, especially given how few are actually used during a season (for reference: the Oakland pitching staff led the league in 2022 with 37; San Diego only had six). Meanwhile, the calling of balls and strikes using computer-assisted technology should have been implemented at least five years ago, but the jury is still out...

FenFan said...

To further make my point about IBB, in 2016, the last year pitchers actually had to throw pitches to intentionally walk a batter, the Miami pitching staff led the league with 62, while Kansas City has only eight. For the season, MLB pitching staffs averaged only one IBB for every 2.6 games played.

laura k said...

So sad. So infuriating.