Final Pace of Play

2015_MLB_Pace_of_Play_1Data via Baseball-Reference.com

As shown above, the average length of MLB games rose in August and September, approaching 2014 levels. But much of the trend was driven by an increase in pitches per game: The average game used 288 pitches in the season’s final two months, up from 281 previously. (In contrast, pitches per game declined from 285 to 280 over the same period in 2014.)

On a per-pitch basis, 2015 games remained notably faster on a year-over-year basis:

2015_MLB_Pace_of_Play_2Follow: @DiamondGraphs

Mo’ No-Nos

No_Hitters_MLB_1998-2015Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter of the Dodgers on Sunday was the sixth such performance in 2015, continuing a recent trend of more no-nos. One more hitless game would match the modern MLB record of seven in a season, set in 1990, ’91 and 2012.

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Slowing Pace in MLB?

2015_MLB_Pace_of_PlayData via Baseball-Reference.com

Thanks to MLB’s celebrated pace-of-play initiatives, early-season games in 2015 were 8-10 minutes faster, on average, than in 2014. But the average game length, which was 2:53 for the first half of the season, has stretched to 2:56 in July and 2:59 so far in August — closing nearly the entire gap on last season, which showed no such pattern (resting around 3:02 for the full year).

August is still only 2/3ds complete, so time will tell if the current trend is a blip, or if the dog days are eating away at MLB’s pace-of-play gains.

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NL Pennant Races

NL_East_Standings_2015NL_Central_Standings_2015NL_West_Standings_2015In contrast to the American League, where no team is more than 17 games behind a division leader, four such teams are so far out in the NL. Still, interesting division races remain in the East, where the Mets recently displaced the Nationals, and the West, where the Dodgers can’t quite drop the Giants despite spending most of the season in first place.

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Correa the Prodigy

Age_20_Hitters_Carlos_CorreaData via the Baseball-Reference Play Index

Houston shortstop Carlos Correa is having a historic season for his age. Since being called up to the majors at the end of June, the 20-year-old has hit for an OPS+ of 144, which would be 10th best all-time for someone his age (min. 400 plate appearances; Correa is on pace for 425-450). The only players above Correa’s pace are inner-circle Hall of Famers — Cobb, Ott, Kaline, Mantle, Williams, Hornsby, Foxx — and two others who may join them in Trout and Rodriguez.

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Blue Jays’ Bashers

Blue_Jays_Hitting_wRC+Data via Fangrahs

The Blue Jays have won 11 straight games thanks in large part to one of baseball’s most fearsome lineups. After last month’s trade for shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, the Royals have one of this year’s top six hitters by wRC+ at four positions — catcher Russell Martin, third baseman Josh Donaldson, Tulowitzki, and right fielder Jose Bautista. The Jays have scored 5.3 runs per game, best in baseball by half a run, despite little production from second base, left field and center field.

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