If there is a baseball season in 2020, MLB is going to have to get creative to sneak in as many games as possible with fewer days of rest.
Proposals such as seven-inning doubleheaders and expanded rosters have been floated as a way to get the games in, as well as doing so in a way that would not be as taxing on the players.
Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner has another idea:
Home Run Derby in extra innings.
The Dodgers slugger laid it out during an appearance on Spectrum SportsNet Wednesday evening.
His premise was that if a game was tied after nine innings, there would be one extra inning played — the 10th inning — and if the score remains tied it moves to a home run derby to decide the game.
Turner said each team would send its three best hitters and have five outs each. Whoever hits the most home runs wins. The pitcher would be a coach in a batting practice-type format.
By resorting to this method as a tiebreaker, teams would be able to avoid burning out arms in the bullpen and have more pitchers available for the next day, especially since off days will be fewer off days than usual.
While Turner’s proposal addresses adequate rest for players rather than pace of play (home run derbies can still be very time-consuming), MLB has been experimenting with ways to speed up extra innings.
The minors have already begun placing a runner on second base to start each inning after the ninth, and considering the unusual circumstances in trying to conduct a 2020 season, perhaps baseball would consider this, or Turner’s proposal, as an experimental case.