Hurdle's rare bullpen strategy key for Pirates down stretch

Friday July 26th, 2013
Mark Melancon has had to step in to the closer's role for injured fellow All-Star Jason Grilli.
Keith Srakocic/AP

One disclaimer: There are more extra-inning games this season, as a percentage of all games (10.5 percent), than any season since 1965 (11 percent). I've been telling you that a more equal distribution of talent and better pitching are making for more competitive games. All those extra innings lead to longer games. Still, the time of game for all nine-inning games this year is up by more than two minutes.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.