It’s a fad we saw started by the Tampa Bay Rays last season. It took on even more meaning when the Oakland Athletics utilized it in their American League Wildcard Playoff game against the New York Yankees.
It’s called using a reliever to open the game rather than a traditional starting pitcher.
Even after signing veteran Gio Gonzalez this week, the New York Yankees remain short on depth within the rotation. Now, according to manager Aaron Boone, the team will likely utilize an opener at times this season.
Aaron Boone on the 'opener' — "I would say there's a good chance we will use it" this season.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 19, 2019
To be clear, it’s a rather interesting option for New York after its rotation struggled to an extent last season. The likes of Chad Green and Jonathan Holder remain top candidates to open games once the regular season comes calling.
Despite adding Gonzalez and James Paxton to the mix during the winter, New York’s rotation remains razor thin. On the other hand, this team has a strong bullpen group.
We’re highly intrigued to see how all of this plays out. It’s not just about the New York Yankees. Other teams will employ the same strategy. Whether it’s a dying fad or a growing trend remains to be seen.