Despite experiencing great success as an opener for the New York Yankees in 2019, Chad Green doesn’t put much stock in the strategy.
“I don’t know how long the opener is going to last because I think starting pitching obviously is the way to win ball games deep in the postseason,” Green told Alfred Miller of the Louisville Courier-Journal.
“That’s when the games are most important. When the starter goes six or seven innings, that’s when teams win ball games.”
Based on that statement, it’s safe to assume Green prefers the higher-leverage situations he encounters when he’s not opening. Such presumed feelings aside, his success pitching the first frame or two of games will likely earn him more chances to do so.
In games he opened last season, Green posted a 3.72 ERA and struck out 14.9 batters per nine innings. When he entered the game as a reliever, his ERA ballooned to 4.35 and his S0/9 rate shrunk to 12.0.
And Chad Green strikes out the side 👀 pic.twitter.com/oXqHsUOG1g
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 27, 2019
Injuries and extended rest for the starters late in the season are just two reasons. The fifth spot in the rotation is currently available, and that 11-4 record with Green opening looms large.
If Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loáisiga, or any other Spring Training candidates flop, Boone and his bosses could decide to use an opener. That is, until Domingo German returns from his pending suspension.
The Bombers have also been shopping J.A. Happ. Successfully moving him would create another hole in the rotation.
Bullpenning may not be ideal, but Green is part of the proof that it’s effective. If he keeps up the good work at the opener spot, the right-hander may have to eat his words.