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Jerry Sullivan's Power Take: Extra innings aren't the problem

There were 17 games in Major League Baseball on Sunday. They took an average time of 3 hours, 20 minutes. All but one game – Pittsburgh's 10-inning win over Arizona – went nine innings.

The Rays beat the Red Sox in a wet, wind-swept, nine-inning affair that lasted 4:32 in Fenway without a rain delay. That's how long it took the Nats and Dodgers to play nine in the NLDS last autumn, setting the NL record. The Sox and Rays fell short of the all-time record of 4:45, set, naturally, by Boston and the Yankees in 2006.

So it's dumb for MLB to suggest that revising extra innings – by putting a man on second base to start extras – would help the time of game issue. Only 53 of 557 games have gone extras this year; only 15 lasted past 11 innings.

The issue isn't the rare event, but the commonplace. Nine-inning game times are up again this year. The culprit isn't extra innings or intentional walks, but long commercial breaks and pitching changes.

In 15 of 17 games Sunday, there were at least eight pitchers used. Increased bullpen use is dragging games out. Obviously, the sport is lacking real answers.

Red Sox lefty David Price may pitch here Friday night vs. Bisons

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