Home / World / Madden: Hey, Rob Manfred! The analytic geeks are ruining starting pitching and it’s making a joke of the game

Madden: Hey, Rob Manfred! The analytic geeks are ruining starting pitching and it’s making a joke of the game

The Rays’ “Opener” concept – in which a relief pitcher, a lot of times closer Sergio Romo, is named to start the game, usually pitching only the first inning, and is then followed by the “real” starter, who is given a fairly short leash to get the game past the fifth inning after which, using matchups, 3-4 more relievers, finish it out – was introduced on May 19, primarily out of necessity because of injuries that felled four of their opening season starting pitchers, Chris Archer, Blake Snell, Nathan Eovaldi and Jake Faria. Much to the delight of the analytics people, the Rays have had success with it – as of Thursday they were 29-20 in “Opener” games and since May 19 Rays pitchers’ ERA of 3.26 ranks second in the majors and first in the American League. So it is therefore not surprising other teams have begun adopting “openers,” the first being the A’s, whose rotation, plagued by multiple injuries, has been in constant turmoil with 14 different pitchers having started games for them this season.

Bill Madden

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