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Article: HOU 5, MIN 2: Rough Opener, Strong Stewart Homecoming

kohl stewart miguel sano robbie grossman alex bregman tyler duffey
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#21 SQUIRREL

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 08:32 AM

Ignoring the opener bull****, Stewart really looked goodyesterday. He had some periods where he was just dealing. There certainly is talent there. I'm not sure the Twins will be able to get all of it out of him but he's had flashes. 
 
For those old enough to remember Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey, Stewart seems like he has better stuff but doesn't yet know how to pitch like they did when they were on.


Yes. Even though I can’t say for sure where he’ll end up in the org, I’ve liked the progress I’ve seen so far. It’s very good to see, and against a true, MLB lineup.
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#22 chaderic20

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 09:16 AM

Even if you are going to a game to see a certain pitcher, why does it matter if that pitcher pitches innings 2-7 instead of 1-6?You still are seeing them the same amount.The opener strategy shouldn't have any effect on whether you watch a game based on the pitcher.

 

Also, while ideally your opener would do well, I don't think that's the focus of this experiment.The result I'm sure they are most interested in is the effect it has on the primary pitcher, especially in their last one or two innings.Does it improve their numbers in those innings?If so, then the strategy might have some merit, and you just need to find the right guys to be the openers.

 

As the article said, two games with bad results from the openers (which isn't the focus of the experiment) isn't nearly enough to scrap the idea.

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#23 108Stitches

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 09:26 AM

The opener sucks. Period. It ruins the game. It ruins stats. It ruins the star pitcher/fan relationship. People like to see their stars play, not a platoon. Tampa is getting lucky. It’s not the opener doing it.
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#24 JLease

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 09:41 AM

I don't mind them playing around with the "opener" concept. It's an opportunity in a lost season to try out some new concepts, try some people in some different roles and see how they react. It may not be a keeper, but I actually like the idea of pushing relievers& starters to do things outside of the regimented and hyper-defined roles they have been formed into over the last 30 years.

 

Glad to see Kohl Stewart have a good outing. Not sure what his future is yet, but if he can throw strikes and finish off ABs with some efficiency he could be a good innings-eater with the weak contact he induces.

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#25 108Stitches

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 09:43 AM

This opener crap makes it where I can’t even check Stewart’s game score. Instead I have to see May’s stinkshow 18 game score. I’m telling you, fans come out to see their favorite players. And develop relationships with their favorite players. They do not want to see Joe blow come out and stink at the place up for two innings, followed by the guy they wanted to see for 4 innings, then another guy for 1 inning then lefty specialist for one inning then maybe a closer if the first guy didn’t already blow it in the first inning. Meanwhile the other side has a Chris Sale or Kluber in for 8 innings and their fans are happy. Get better pitching. And there’s no need for this stupid experiment invented by academic nerds who likely never even played the damn game.
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#26 clutterheart

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 09:48 AM

The opener sucks. Period. It ruins the game. It ruins stats. It ruins the star pitcher/fan relationship. People like to see their stars play, not a platoon. Tampa is getting lucky. It’s not the opener doing it.


People said similar things when Oakland was getting all the good OB% guys.
Time will tell. Baseball is a long season. Its hard to be lucky over the course of the season. And its really hard to be lucky 2 years in a row.
In a few years openers might have their own opening music and be just as overhyped as closers.

#27 SwainZag

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 09:55 AM

 

The opener sucks. Period. It ruins the game. It ruins stats. It ruins the star pitcher/fan relationship. People like to see their stars play, not a platoon. Tampa is getting lucky. It’s not the opener doing it.

 

It ruins the game? It ruins stats?So everyone that went to the game to see Kohl Strewart pitch today was ruined because he threw innings 2-6 instead of starting with inning 1?What's the difference if May threw the 1st instead of say the 7th?I think it's an interesting concept and have no qualms with them trying it out here late in this season.

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#28 108Stitches

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 10:08 AM

People said similar things when Oakland was getting all the good OB% guys.
Time will tell. Baseball is a long season. Its hard to be lucky over the course of the season. And its really hard to be lucky 2 years in a row.
In a few years openers might have their own opening music and be just as overhyped as closers.

not a chance. And you can’t compare Oakland’s OBP moneyball to this. THAT didn’t fundamentally change everything about the history of a particular position. Eggheads need to leave baseball alone. Fans don’t like it. Pitchers don’t like it. Tampa has LESS attendance this year than the last 13 years! Fans want their Verlanders and Sherzers and in Tampa’s case, Archer. They don’t like platoons. No matter if they’re winning. In my opinion, the opener strategy is simply a move by the front office bean counters to attempt to minimize the necessity for a $20 million a year star if they can find a way to get by with a few 2-3 million dollar guys. It won’t work.

#29 108Stitches

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 10:10 AM

It ruins the game? It ruins stats?So everyone that went to the game to see Kohl Strewart pitch today was ruined because he threw innings 2-6 instead of starting with inning 1?What's the difference if May threw the 1st instead of say the 7th?I think it's an interesting concept and have no qualms with them trying it out here late in this season.

Well if Kohl threw what he did 1-5 instead of 2-6 he wouldn’t have a 4 run deficit.

#30 jkcarew

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 10:16 AM

Stewart's stuff looks major-league quality.Or maybe, it's just me.

 

There will be some pretty decent data by the end of the year, when looking at opener results across the league.

 

I think it's still a fact that the best pitchers are your starters....at least 1-3 in the rotation are better pitchers than all but maybe your 8th and 9th inning guys who posses maybe one ++ pitch.So, more often than not, you're opener is going to be your 6th, 7th, 8th best pitcher pitching against the top of the other teams order.To make it worse, the other team knows who the opener is going to be.

 

Meanwhile, it does no good to reduce the number of runs surrendered in the second and third innings (or sixth), if you give up even more in the first.

 

Admittedly, I'm hoping it fails.Only because it will be another reason to carry additional pitchers on the 25-man.No mater how you figure it, it's one additional pitcher burned before the game gets into the middle stages.Managers will still want the protection on the back-side for specific match-ups and extra-innings.Guaranteed.

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#31 Seth Stohs

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 10:39 AM

 

Well if Kohl threw what he did 1-5 instead of 2-6 he wouldn’t have a 4 run deficit.

 

Or maybe they would have. No way to know, and that's what I tried to illustrate. Who knows how Stewart would have done in the first inning against their top hitters. Maybe fine, maybe not. 

 

 

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#32 Dantes929

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 11:11 AM

 

Stewart's stuff looks major-league quality.Or maybe, it's just me.

 

There will be some pretty decent data by the end of the year, when looking at opener results across the league.

 

I think it's still a fact that the best pitchers are your starters....at least 1-3 in the rotation are better pitchers than all but maybe your 8th and 9th inning guys who posses maybe one ++ pitch.So, more often than not, you're opener is going to be your 6th, 7th, 8th best pitcher pitching against the top of the other teams order.To make it worse, the other team knows who the opener is going to be.

 

Meanwhile, it does no good to reduce the number of runs surrendered in the second and third innings (or sixth), if you give up even more in the first.

 

Admittedly, I'm hoping it fails.Only because it will be another reason to carry additional pitchers on the 25-man.No mater how you figure it, it's one additional pitcher burned before the game gets into the middle stages.Managers will still want the protection on the back-side for specific match-ups and extra-innings.Guaranteed.

I am not a huge fan of the move but I think you are missing the point. The egg heads as they are called show that a higher percentage of runs are scored in the 1st inning because the other team's best hitters are lined up to hit that inning. The 6th, 7th, or 8th best pitchers are not the ones that should be opening. Its the one's that have the best ERA for one or two innings.In this case they had May who had an 1.88 ERA coming in as their Opener.He arguably was the best pitcher on the team for a one inning stint.Its a lot like those that argue that your closer shouldn't just automatically come in in the 9th inning when there are higher leverage situations in the 7th or 8th innings. It makes sense.Rather than compare this strategy to the A's small ball it should be compared to KC's championship run when they used relievers earlier than ever before or Cleveland who brings in their best pitchers at various stages of a game. There is no way a sample of 2 games or even 50 games would be conclusive one way or the other.

 

"Meanwhile, it does no good to reduce the number of runs surrendered in the second and third innings (or sixth), if you give up even more in the first."Goes back to my earlier post. The strategy is to increase your odds to give up the fewest number of runs in the first inning. The execution was poor. Not necessarily the strategy.

Edited by Dantes929, 05 September 2018 - 11:14 AM.

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#33 jkcarew

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 11:23 AM

 

I am not a huge fan of the move but I think you are missing the point. The egg heads as they are called show that a higher percentage of runs are scored in the 1st inning because the other team's best hitters are lined up to hit that inning. The 6th, 7th, or 8th best pitchers are not the ones that should be opening. Its the one's that have the best ERA for one or two innings.In this case they had May who had an 1.88 ERA coming in as their Opener.He arguably was the best pitcher on the team for a one inning stint.Its a lot like those that argue that your closer shouldn't just automatically come in in the 9th inning when there are higher leverage situations in the 7th or 8th innings. It makes sense.Rather than compare this strategy to the A's small ball it should be compared to KC's championship run when they used relievers earlier than ever before or Cleveland who brings in their best pitchers at various stages of a game. There is no way a sample of 2 games or even 50 games would be conclusive one way or the other.

 

"Meanwhile, it does no good to reduce the number of runs surrendered in the second and third innings (or sixth), if you give up even more in the first."Goes back to my earlier post. The strategy is to increase your odds to give up the fewest number of runs in the first inning. The execution was poor. Not necessarily the strategy.

The theory still has holes.The "best era for one inning" pool of pitchers (non-starters) only really consists of your closer...and maybe the 8th-inning guy.Taylor Rogers (as an example) one-inning ERA is irrelevant, because the batters he faces to arrive at that ERA are cherry-picked by the manager.In the opener role it will be the opposite...instead of the manager choosing which batters that pitcher faces, the other team will get to choose who that pitcher faces.Huge difference...I don't think there is much of a question that the opener role will not materially help (and might hurt) 1st-inning ERA's...the 'theory' is that it will help 5th and 6th-inning ERA (3rd-time through lineup) more than it will hurt in the 1st.

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#34 goulik

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 11:38 AM

 

IMO almost nobody goes to a game to see a particular starting pitcher, unless it's someone who has just won a Cy Young or is on a crazy streak or something. Given the way that pitching is evolving to be such an irregular cluster, the opener seems worth a try. Probably takes some getting used to for somoene like May

Back in the day I only went if it was Brad Radke Starting. That was when the rest of the rotation was lousy or unproven. He wasn't a Cy Young but he was the closest thing to it at the time. In other words, I support what your saying here in theory.

 

Last night I turned it on just to see how the "Opener" thing went. At this point I might be interested to go see certain rookies getting their first tastes of starting in the majors but I'm not going to see Odorizzi, or Gibson...


#35 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 11:51 AM

I am not thrilled with the opener concept for the reasons expressed by others, but I do think it has some baseball merit for a team like the Twins who were trying to use young, untested starters for two of the five spots in the rotation. It helps that that fifth or sixth inning of pitching is not the third time through the top of the order and it certainly seemed to help both Stewart and Littel in their last outings even though the "openers" stunk. It helps them build confidence because now they've gone five innings without giving up many hits and runs against a good team and now they begin to believe they belong. Now is the perfect time to give this a try.

 

I would much prefer to have five strong workhorse starters. Let's face it guys, we don't even have three of those guys. At most, we have two if you give that status to Berrios and to Gibson. If we're lucky we will add one next year in the off-season and/or Pineda will hit that status but were going to have at least one sketchy rotation spot, and as many as three because I don't count Odorizzi as a strong, workhorse starter.It's worth seeing if this kind of thing can work. Maybe the next step is to double up starters with the idea that a guy like Stewart takes the first 4-5 innings and Littel takes the second 4-5 innings or something like that. it might not be such a bad way to develop guys for season and then throw them out there expecting them to go six or sevenonce they build some confidence. Just a thought.


#36 jimbo92107

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 12:29 PM

Obviously the Twins have not yet executed the Opener strategy effectively, but in this case we did get an unexpected benefit: We saw Kohl Stewart pitching with less pressure put upon himself. What I saw was extremely encouraging. Stewart definitely has the "stuff" to not just survive, but thrive in this league. Astros were swinging aggressively, but Stewart and Giminez countered with an effective mix of pitches, and most important, Stewart showed that his stuff can get guys out.

 

That said, he still sails far too many pitches right down the middle, and he still does not command the outside edge with consistency. Fortunately, those are things that young pitchers typically refine over the first few years of their careers. With Stewart's live heater, good sinker, developing change and developing curve, he could wind up being a very, very good mlb pitcher. 

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#37 mikelink45

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 12:32 PM

 

IMO almost nobody goes to a game to see a particular starting pitcher, unless it's someone who has just won a Cy Young or is on a crazy streak or something. Given the way that pitching is evolving to be such an irregular cluster, the opener seems worth a try. Probably takes some getting used to for somoene like May

Yes people still go to games with great pitching - the starter makes a difference.Do you think that having Verlander start does not add to the incentive to go to the game?Or Kershaw or Kluber or Sales...


#38 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 12:45 PM

Wow, there are loads of people here who don't seem to actually understand the purpose of an opener.

 

Clayton Kershaw is not going to have an opener start the game for him. The same goes for Verlander, Berrios, and all other starting pitchers who regularly show the ability to manage an opposing offense 3-4 times through a lineup.

 

That entire argument is a strawman. The opener is not going to impact the best (or even good) starting pitchers in the game.

 

It's for the other guys who aren't good enough to pitch more than 150 innings in a season and perform adequately in the traditional starting pitcher role (but still have enough talent to get through a lineup a couple of times).

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#39 jimmer

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 01:00 PM

Wow, there are loads of people here who don't seem to actually understand the purpose of an opener.

Clayton Kershaw is not going to have an opener start the game for him. The same goes for Verlander, Berrios, and all other starting pitchers who regularly show the ability to manage an opposing offense 3-4 times through a lineup.

That entire argument is a strawman. The opener is not going to impact the best (or even good) starting pitchers in the game.

It's for the other guys who aren't good enough to pitch more than 150 innings in a season and perform adequately in the traditional starting pitcher role (but still have enough talent to get through a lineup a couple of times).

thank you. Just something else to blame 'the egg heads' for ruining the game;-)

This is an idea teams are trying based on quite a lot of data. So many fans are vigorously opposed to any kind of change in the game. It's
pretty predictable. Makes me wonder why they bother to continue watching and posting about a sport they obviously care less and less for. No amount of complaining will stop teams from trying new things and the game evolving.

If overall, it doesn't work for some teams, it will be abandoned by them. But let's not forget for one second we have given up tons of runs this season already doing it the traditional way. Still need to have quality pitchers for any strategy to work.

Edited by jimmer, 05 September 2018 - 01:14 PM.

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#40 Dantes929

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 01:29 PM

 

The theory still has holes.The "best era for one inning" pool of pitchers (non-starters) only really consists of your closer...and maybe the 8th-inning guy.Taylor Rogers (as an example) one-inning ERA is irrelevant, because the batters he faces to arrive at that ERA are cherry-picked by the manager.In the opener role it will be the opposite...instead of the manager choosing which batters that pitcher faces, the other team will get to choose who that pitcher faces.Huge difference...I don't think there is much of a question that the opener role will not materially help (and might hurt) 1st-inning ERA's...the 'theory' is that it will help 5th and 6th-inning ERA (3rd-time through lineup) more than it will hurt in the 1st.

Which is why you don't use Rogers as an Opener.If there is one guy aside from Berrios that you would choose to pitch one inning with confidence it is probably May.The fact that he failed is on May, not the theory.If all the things the advanced metrics show created a difference of two wins over the traditional way of doing things it would be silly not to do it. The problem is two wins difference over the course of a season means many games were lost by not doing it the traditional way and many games plus 2 were gained by doing it the new way. Many would be won or lost using either method.There is no way to know which is which.In this case, May failed but I am not going to just assume that Stewart would have thrown 5 scoreless innings if he had started the game.

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