Things look a little bit different in spring training this season thanks to some rule changes, but one change in particular is drawing the ire of Chicago Cubs fans.
During Wednesday’s game against the Seattle Mariners, fans watched as multiple innings were cut short due to the opposing pitcher hitting their pitch limit for the frame.
It first happened in the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Cubs scored a pair of runs and the Mariners ended the inning with one out and runners on first and second base.
It then happened again in the top of the fifth inning, as the frame ended with two outs as the Mariners scored a run off of Cubs reliever Jason Adam. The sixth inning also ended early after a bases-loaded walk gave the Cubs a 7-6 lead.
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The new rule, imposed by Major League Baseball for this spring, is designed to allow teams to call off innings when pitchers throw at least 20 pitches in a frame. Games themselves can also be shortened because of the new rules, with most Cubs games set to run for seven innings instead of the usual nine.
Needless to say, Cubs Twitter wasn’t overly thrilled with what it saw during the game:
Cubs manager David Ross defended the policy, which is aimed at helping teams to minimize the number of pitchers used due to COVID-19-related roster limits.
“At the end of the day, these are exhibition games,” Cubs manager David Ross said on a Zoom press conference Wednesday. “And I understand fans’ perspective of wanting to win and cheer for their group, for sure. But also, we're trying to keep everybody healthy for the stuff that counts, which is the season.”