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Report: Average game times in opening week drop over 4 minutes from '17

Victor Decolongon / Getty Images Sport / Getty

It's early, but Major League Baseball's new pace-of-play rules appear to be working.

Numbers released by MLB on Monday revealed that the average length of nine-inning games during the first week of 2018 (all numbers as of April 6) was three hours, 58 seconds, according to Maury Brown of Forbes. That number represents a four minute and 13 second drop from last year's average time of 3:05:11.

In addition, Brown reports that the average length of replay reviews has decreased by four seconds, from 1:28 to 1:24 - the fastest it's gone since replay was brought in five years ago.

However, the early-season dips still might not be enough to please commissioner Rob Manfred, for whom pace of play has been a personal white whale of sorts during his tenure. Manfred said earlier this winter that he will unilaterally introduce a pitch clock to MLB in 2019 unless players decrease this season's average nine-inning game time to 2:55 or lower.

After the average game length in 2017 jumped some four minutes from the previous season, MLB created several new rules for 2018 in yet another attempt to speed up contests. Teams are now limited to six non-pitching-change mound visits per nine-inning game (with one additional visit per extra inning), and pitchers must now complete their warmup pitches before the between-inning countdown clock hits 25 seconds.

The issue of slow reviews was also addressed, as teams now have access to slow-motion camera angles in their video rooms before deciding whether or not to challenge a play.

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