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NFT: Baseball teams using an "opener"

BillKo : 7/11/2019 11:39 am
I have seen some teams using what they call an "opener", where a bullpen guy pitches the first inning, then the starter takes over.

What's the reason for this? Teams like the Angels are doing it quite a bit.

I first thought it was to guarantee the bullpen guy gets work that day. But is it to give the starting pitcher who comes in next some relief from seeing the first three hitters one less time??

The Rays started it last year,  
section125 : 7/11/2019 11:47 am : link
because they did not have enough starters with ability to actually start a game.
But you place a good BP guys to pitch two innings against the best hitters hopefully stifling them. Then you bring in another guy to hopefully get through 3 or 4 innings to get to the meat of the BP.

The Yankees were successful using Chad Green (hard thrower) as the opener then following up with Nestor Cortes (finesse pitcher). They were 8-0 with the opener.
it's usually a cost saving move  
Giantsfan79 : 7/11/2019 11:48 am : link
starting pitchers (even mediocre ones) earn $10 million plus. You can pair two long relievers to get the same 4-6 innings and two long relievers together can cost less then one starting pitcher.
Its good for teams  
lightemup : 7/11/2019 11:48 am : link
that dont have a good rotation, but a good bullpen or want to give their starters an extra days rest. I dont think its something you can do for an entire season. Tooo taxing on the bullpen
It isn't a cost..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 7/11/2019 11:52 am : link
saving move. It is a strategic move.

Due to injuries or not having a starting quality pitcher, some managers have gone to a bullpen guy for the opening inning or two and plan to use middle-relievers to get through the first half of the game.
I believe analytics  
giants#1 : 7/11/2019 11:53 am : link
show pitchers are much better against the lineup the first time through and that each successive time through, their numbers progressively get worse. So by using an "opener" (i.e. good reliever) for the first 1-2 innings, you then get your (mediocre) long reliever starting off against the bottom of the order. Thus, the first guys he sees his 2nd time through the order are the opposition's worst hitters, increasing his chances of going 4+.
RE: Its good for teams  
giants#1 : 7/11/2019 11:55 am : link
In comment 14496623 lightemup said:
Quote:
that dont have a good rotation, but a good bullpen or want to give their starters an extra days rest. I dont think its something you can do for an entire season. Tooo taxing on the bullpen


Not sure about other teams, but the Yanks have rotated some of their long relievers between AAA and MLB for this purpose. Basically, guys like Adams/Cortes will be called up to provide depth if they're going to use an opener and then sent down afterwards so they can get an extra arm up without taxing everyone.
RE: I believe analytics  
UConn4523 : 7/11/2019 11:58 am : link
In comment 14496626 giants#1 said:
Quote:
show pitchers are much better against the lineup the first time through and that each successive time through, their numbers progressively get worse. So by using an "opener" (i.e. good reliever) for the first 1-2 innings, you then get your (mediocre) long reliever starting off against the bottom of the order. Thus, the first guys he sees his 2nd time through the order are the opposition's worst hitters, increasing his chances of going 4+.


This, its strategic. Getting through a lineup clean decreases each time through. Having your opener eat through the better part of the lineup (6/7 batters) and then bringing in the long reliever will (should) help that long reliever in the long run. Even better if you can get an early lead.
Not sure what other teams are doing...  
BillKo : 7/11/2019 12:05 pm : link
...but LA definitely uses a bullpen guy, followed by one of their defined starting pitchers. Not long guys.

It does make sense...let a guy with better stuff but who only goes an inning face the top of the order. Then the regular starter comes in and faces the mid to bottom, with a better chance for success.

Theory  
Jim in Fairfax : 7/11/2019 12:06 pm : link
More runs are scored in the first inning than any other. Also, lower quality staters have difficulty getting through a lineup the third time through.

An opener let’s you use a quality short man in that dangerous first against the best hitters. The starter can then take over, starting out with weaker hitters. They’ll also have the bottom of the lineup to start their third time through it. Because they face weaker hitters on average as a result, you can a longer and better performance from your starter.

At least that’s the theory.
it's similar to the theory  
giants#1 : 7/11/2019 12:08 pm : link
(which isn't used a ton) that you should bring in your *closer* in the 8th if the heart of the lineup is up and letting your best reliever face the toughest part of the lineup.
RE: it's similar to the theory  
BillKo : 7/11/2019 12:11 pm : link
In comment 14496649 giants#1 said:
Quote:
(which isn't used a ton) that you should bring in your *closer* in the 8th if the heart of the lineup is up and letting your best reliever face the toughest part of the lineup.


I've seen this in college......but not yet in the pros. But I wonder why?

I do understand there is something about getting those last three outs (and defined roles).....but if the 8th inning is the when the best hitters are coming up, why not use your closer?
Opener  
Marko From Tropoja : 7/11/2019 12:27 pm : link
Using an opener is meant to extend the amount of innings the long-reliever (or a weaker starter) will throw. Weaker starters and long-relievers generally run into issues when facing a teams top hitters for the second time in a game.

In a perfect scenario, the long-reliever will come in to face the 4th batter in the 2nd inning. If things go perfectly, the long-reliever doesn't face the top 3 of the lineup a second time until the 7th. (5 total innings)

If the long-reliever started, and things went perfectly, he would face the top of the lineup in the 4th (3 total innings).
while the move has strategic benefits  
Giantsfan79 : 7/11/2019 12:28 pm : link
make no doubt it started because of money. Yeah last year the Rays didn't have 5 starting pitchers so they got creative. But why didn't they have 5 starting pitchers - part was injuries, but mostly it was to save money.

Quote:
The Rays are coming off a turnaround season in which they won 90 games, in part because of the successful use of relievers to open games on days manager Kevin Cash elected to not begin with a traditional starter.

An opener generally faced three to nine batters, depending on matchups — primarily with a goal of getting the first three to six outs of a game.

Cash also used “bullpen days” — outings started by relievers who usually worked deeper into games — when necessary after injuries and a series of salary-slashing moves left Tampa Bay without a customary five-man rotation.

Link - ( New Window )
This goes right in line with my thread yesterday..  
Sean : 7/11/2019 12:29 pm : link
Maybe this helps team wins, but this kind of stuff will kill baseball.
RE: This goes right in line with my thread yesterday..  
BigBlueDownTheShore : 7/11/2019 12:56 pm : link
In comment 14496679 Sean said:
Quote:
Maybe this helps team wins, but this kind of stuff will kill baseball.


I went to an Analytics function that was held by the Phillies through my Master's program.

Mickey Morandini got up and spoke, and said that he would mentally track the pitches, so he could have a better understanding of what was going to come at him next.

At this point they are jotting all this stuff down so they can study it before hand.

The game hasn't changed.

All modern businesses use analytics to some extent. Why would MLB be any different.
RE: RE: I believe analytics  
robbieballs2003 : 7/11/2019 12:59 pm : link
In comment 14496632 UConn4523 said:
Quote:
In comment 14496626 giants#1 said:


Quote:


show pitchers are much better against the lineup the first time through and that each successive time through, their numbers progressively get worse. So by using an "opener" (i.e. good reliever) for the first 1-2 innings, you then get your (mediocre) long reliever starting off against the bottom of the order. Thus, the first guys he sees his 2nd time through the order are the opposition's worst hitters, increasing his chances of going 4+.



This, its strategic. Getting through a lineup clean decreases each time through. Having your opener eat through the better part of the lineup (6/7 batters) and then bringing in the long reliever will (should) help that long reliever in the long run. Even better if you can get an early lead.


Exactly. To add to this, some SP statistically struggle in the first because of many reasons, one being they face the best hitters. This strategy helps in that aspect. The Angels have been doing it with Felix Pena with some degree of success.
RE: RE: RE: I believe analytics  
section125 : 7/11/2019 1:03 pm : link
In comment 14496708 robbieballs2003 said:
Quote:
In comment 14496632 UConn4523 said:


Quote:


In comment 14496626 giants#1 said:


Quote:


show pitchers are much better against the lineup the first time through and that each successive time through, their numbers progressively get worse. So by using an "opener" (i.e. good reliever) for the first 1-2 innings, you then get your (mediocre) long reliever starting off against the bottom of the order. Thus, the first guys he sees his 2nd time through the order are the opposition's worst hitters, increasing his chances of going 4+.



This, its strategic. Getting through a lineup clean decreases each time through. Having your opener eat through the better part of the lineup (6/7 batters) and then bringing in the long reliever will (should) help that long reliever in the long run. Even better if you can get an early lead.



Exactly. To add to this, some SP statistically struggle in the first because of many reasons, one being they face the best hitters. This strategy helps in that aspect. The Angels have been doing it with Felix Pena with some degree of success.


Might work with JA Happ and to a lesser extent Tanaka.
Charlie Finley proposed this idea in the 70s  
81_Great_Dane : 7/11/2019 1:21 pm : link
and people thought it was RIDICULOUS. But in those days, starters were expected to pitch at least 8 innings, and if you could get the starter out in the 7th or something, and make the other team put in a middle reliever, that was a huge advantage. Most middle relievers then were either young guys learning to pitch in the majors or guys who were just plain bad.
After Suffering through most of Wheeler's starts this year....  
GiantBlue : 7/11/2019 2:15 pm : link
the Mets should use an opener when he pitches! LOL.

Then again...with the state of the Met's bullpen, it could be worse....

and I am a Mets fan.

and until recently, owned Wheeler in my fantasy league.
RE: RE: it's similar to the theory  
BH28 : 7/11/2019 2:25 pm : link
In comment 14496654 BillKo said:
Quote:
In comment 14496649 giants#1 said:


Quote:


(which isn't used a ton) that you should bring in your *closer* in the 8th if the heart of the lineup is up and letting your best reliever face the toughest part of the lineup.



I've seen this in college......but not yet in the pros. But I wonder why?

I do understand there is something about getting those last three outs (and defined roles).....but if the 8th inning is the when the best hitters are coming up, why not use your closer?


Teams are using this. They'll bring in their guys earlier then the ninth in what is termed high leverage situations.
I will go the other way. Let's have teams go with 6 man Rotations  
No Where Man : 7/11/2019 3:41 pm : link
where starters can throw 125 to 150 pitches per game.
RE: RE: RE: it's similar to the theory  
BillKo : 7/11/2019 4:18 pm : link
In comment 14496756 BH28 said:
Quote:
In comment 14496654 BillKo said:


Quote:


In comment 14496649 giants#1 said:


Quote:


(which isn't used a ton) that you should bring in your *closer* in the 8th if the heart of the lineup is up and letting your best reliever face the toughest part of the lineup.



I've seen this in college......but not yet in the pros. But I wonder why?

I do understand there is something about getting those last three outs (and defined roles).....but if the 8th inning is the when the best hitters are coming up, why not use your closer?



Teams are using this. They'll bring in their guys earlier then the ninth in what is termed high leverage situations.


Well, I don't mean when trouble brews in the eighth, I mean to actually start it.

Say the you're beating the Yanks and they are due up 2-3-4 in the bot of the 8th.

I'd bring my #1 guy in........so you say teams are actually doing this?
What I don't get is why teams in the NL  
ZGiants98 : 7/12/2019 7:26 am : link
That do this and are home don't put the pitcher to bat 1st in the lineup in the bottom of the first and then pinch hit them out with the real leadoff hitter... Might not make a huge difference but you clear the pitcher at least one time through the lineup... Over time that could add up.
RE: What I don't get is why teams in the NL  
Jay on the Island : 7/12/2019 7:58 pm : link
In comment 14497113 ZGiants98 said:
Quote:
That do this and are home don't put the pitcher to bat 1st in the lineup in the bottom of the first and then pinch hit them out with the real leadoff hitter... Might not make a huge difference but you clear the pitcher at least one time through the lineup... Over time that could add up.

That's a great question. The only explanation I can think of is that they don't want to use a bench player so early in the game in case the game goes to extra innings.
RE: RE: What I don't get is why teams in the NL  
ZGiants98 : 7/13/2019 6:02 pm : link
In comment 14497801 Jay on the Island said:
Quote:
In comment 14497113 ZGiants98 said:


Quote:


That do this and are home don't put the pitcher to bat 1st in the lineup in the bottom of the first and then pinch hit them out with the real leadoff hitter... Might not make a huge difference but you clear the pitcher at least one time through the lineup... Over time that could add up.


That's a great question. The only explanation I can think of is that they don't want to use a bench player so early in the game in case the game goes to extra innings.


Nah Jay they arent wasting a bench player. The pitcher is in the lineup officially to start so all they are doing is going back to an 8 man lineup when they pinch hit for the pitcher only the lineup is now pushed back and you still have all of your original bench players. Again, not a huge difference in the grand scheme of things but it's something I'd like to see because it should be common sense yet nobody does it. lol.
Ah never mind... I just confused myself...  
ZGiants98 : 7/13/2019 6:07 pm : link
What you meant makes more sense and was actually my original premise. Yes. Use a true pinch hitter in the first and then you only need to bat the pitcher once or twice max throughout the game unless you go into extra innings.

I was also thinking you could double switch a hitter in and leave them there but then you are right back to where you started. lol
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