The Yankees’ use of a reliever starting a game has been a little different than other teams who use the “opener’’ strategy. Some clubs use a reliever for the first inning and then summon a starter from the bullpen. The Yankees have used the formula more because of injuries to the starting rotation and haven’t backed up the opener with a starter.
Including Thursday, when Chad Green started for the 12th time this season, the Yankees have used the opener plan 14 times, and general manager Brian Cashman didn’t completely rule it out in the postseason. He might, however, have second thoughts about that after the Indians pounded Green for five runs and four hits, including two homers, in one-third of an inning to help send the Yankees to a 19-5 loss.
“Without question, we know it is effective because it has been effective against us. I remember when Oakland employed it against us in the [AL wild-card game] last year,” Cashman said. “Especially in a one-game situation, it could be strategic and beneficial. Over the course of a marathon season it would be easier to manage that, as it would be in a sprint.”
“As long as we put ourselves to get to the postseason then we will have a chance to play with what is in our best interest. See that schedule, who is available to us? Is [Luis Severino] back? How is everybody else out of our bullpen lined up? What are the off days? Then we will try and make difficult decisions. We haven’t had those discussions yet. It is certainly something that will be a possibility if we are in [the postseason] but we have to get there first.’’