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Do you have the time? Red Sox pacesetters (and wreckers)

August 27, 2017

Sox pacesetters (and wreckers)

FanGraphs began tracking pitcher pace in 2007, measuring the number of seconds a pitcher takes between delivering pitches. For the first five years, the average pace stayed between 21.4 and 21.6 seconds, but it jumped to 22.1 seconds in 2012 and this season’s average of 23.9 seconds is easily the slowest pace since FanGraphs began keeping track.

The pace of the Red Sox rotation had some consistency — at least in its extremes — when Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield were pitching.

Here is a look at the fastest and slowest Red Sox starting pitchers each of the past 10 years.

2017• Fastest: Doug Fister, 20.4 seconds• Slowest: David Price, 28.12016• Fastest: Steven Wright, 21.4• Slowest: Clay Buchholz, 26.42015• Fastest: Wade Miley, 18.2• Slowest: Clay Buchholz, 25.92014• Fastest: Jon Lester, 22.5• Slowest: Clay Buchholz, 26.62013• Fastest: Jake Peavy, 22.2• Slowest: Clay Buchholz, 26.12012• Fastest: Aaron Cook, 21.8• Slowest: Clay Buchholz, 26.82011• Fastest: Tim Wakefield, 19.2• Slowest: Clay Buchholz, 28.32010• Fastest: Tim Wakefield, 19.0• Slowest: Daisuke Matsuzaka, 26.32009• Fastest: Tim Wakefield, 17.5• Slowest: Clay Buchholz, 26.02008• Fastest: Tim Wakefield, 18.0• Slowest: Josh Beckett, 27.2

The effect on game speed

A quick and deliberate pitcher isn’t the only factor in quicking pace of play. Long counts take time. Scoring runs takes time. Television commercials take time. But a study of this year’s Red Sox starters proves that there is at least some direct correlationbetween a rapid pitching pace and a fast finish.

Here is the breakdown for thesix Sox pitchers who have logged the most starts (numbers listed entering play Friday):

Doug Fister• Seconds between pitches: 18.6• Sub-3-hour games started: 5• Percentage of starts in games of 3 hours or under: 62.5Chris Sale• Seconds between pitches: 20.8• Sub-3-hour games started: 13• Percentage of starts in games of 3 hours or under: 52Rick Porcello• Seconds between pitches: 23.0• Sub-3-hour games started: 9• Percentage of starts in games of 3 hours or under: 34.6Drew Pomeranz• Seconds between pitches: 25.0• Sub-3-hour games started: 3• Percentage of starts in games of 3 hours or under: 12Eduardo Rodriguez• Seconds between pitches: 25.0• Sub-3-hour games started: 2• Percentage of starts in games of 3 hours or under: 11.8David Price• Seconds between pitches: 28.1• Sub-3-hour games started: 1• Percentage of starts in games of 3 hours or under: 9.1

-SOURCE: FANGRAPHS AND BASEBALL REFERENCE