Facing Pirates infielder Tucupita Marcano in the bottom of the second inning with the Yankees leading 3-0 and two outs, New York reliever Wandy Peralta wasted no time taking care of business on the mound and getting the third. In a highlight that shows the value of the pitch clock and all of its time-saving splendor, Peralta struck out Marcano on three pitches in just less than 20 seconds during Thursday’s Grapefruit League, and it was glorious.
The pitch clock — which gives the pitcher 15 seconds to throw the ball if the bases are empty, or 20 seconds if there are runners on base and requires the hitter to be in the batter’s box with eight seconds left on the timer — did not get close to getting through a full cycle during Marcano’s at-bat. Somewhat of a manipulator on the mound, Peralta threw a slow slider, a fast sinker and then closed Marcano out with a changeup, masterfully using the pressure generated by the pitch clock along the way. “You know what, it’s right up his alley,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after his club’s 9-1 win in spring training. “It just gives him something else to mess with.”
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MLB doesn’t keep track of strikeout times, so there’s no way to know if the whiff was really the fastest in the history of pro baseball. But it’s worth noting Peralta could have struck out five batters in the same amount of time it once took former Dodgers reliever Pedro Báez to throw a single pitch in a game against the Cubs.
Long live the pitch clock.