Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is delivering on commissioner Rob Manfred’s pace-of-play initiative. With Kershaw and Houston Astros starter Dallas Keuchel trading zeroes early, Game 1 of the 2017 World Series was over in just two hours and twenty-eight minutes.
That clocks in as the fastest World Series game since 1992.
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) October 25, 2017
Anyone watching the game — or just looking over the box score — can tell you how that happened. It was a pitcher’s duel, as both Kershaw and Keuchel worked quickly, and were efficient as the Dodgers picked up a 3-1 win in Game 1.
After giving up a home run to Chris Taylor on his first pitch of the night, Keuchel settled in, not having trouble again until the sixth. Even then, he gave up a walk and a quick home run, and promptly got out of the inning.
Kershaw was in control from the beginning. The only blemish on his night was a solo home run to Alex Bregman in the fourth inning. He only gave up three hits and struck out 11. Kershaw did not walk any batters.
The last World Series game to clock in shorter than 2:28 followed a similar path. Game 4 of the 1992 World Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves featured a pitcher’s duel between Tom Glavine and Jimmy Key. Though Glavine only gave up two runs over eight innings, he picked up the loss. The Blue Jays won 2-1. They would go on to win the World Series in six games.
Since taking over as commissioner, Manfred has stressed pace-of-play as his main focus. He’s introduced pitch clocks in the minors, and has discouraged batters from leaving the batter’s box during at-bats.
While those things may help, Kershaw and Keuchel proved that there’s nothing better for shortening the game than a good pitcher’s duel.
If Manfred’s next proposal involved making sure Kershaw and Keuchel go head-to-head every single night, we would be willing to get on board with it.
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