Rather than just throw various arguments around, lets go to the data to take a look at what it tells us. The length of a game should be roughly determined by the number of innings, number of pitches, number of in inning pitching changes, and duration of the commercial breaks. With that in mind, I looked at the three Yankess vs Red Sox games and then all the American League games played on 4/9 to compare them.
All the data is in a Google Docs spreadsheet, and includes the game time, innings, pitches, in inning pitching changes, and commercial length based on if it is a national TV game or not. Using these stats I calculate the average time per pitch, which all things being equal should be pretty consistent from game to game.
|Date||Game||Time per Pitch|
|4/6||Yankees / Red Sox||0:35|
|4/9||Yankees / Rays||0:33|
|4/4||Yankees / Red Sox||0:32|
|4/9||Red Sox / Royals||0:31|
|4/7||Yankees / Red Sox||0:31|
|4/9||Blue Jays / Orioles||0:30|
|4/9||Twins / White Sox||0:28|
|4/9||Athletics / Angels||0:28|
|4/9||Indians / Tigers||0:27|
|4/9||Mariners / Rangers||0:26|
Now, admittedly it is a small sample size, but it seems pretty clear that there is something common about the 5 slowest games from the selected games. Given that I've factored in a bunch of stuff, why is this? It is likely caused by visits to the mound by the manager (which are limited) or fellow players (which aren't) and batters stepping out between pitches, and that is what Joe West was complaining about.
Is it the end of the world if some games are a few seconds per pitch slower than others? In the grand scheme of things, probably not, but MLB has decided to try to speed things up and from the data above, it appears Joe West singling out the Yankees and Red Sox as the biggest offenders could very well be true.