Cokin’s Corner, Thursday 4/25/19
The Angels went with an “opener” on Wednesday night, inserting Cam Bedrosian as the starter for the first inning in front of Felix Pena. This game ended up illustrating both sides of the “opener” debate, as it turned out.
I like the concept for two reasons. One is that it allows for a reliever who’s probably better in a short stint than a back end starter to face what is usually going to be the toughest part of the opposition batting order. Secondly, the opener means it’s far less likely the back of the rotation starter will have to face the dreaded third time through the order scenario. So from where I sit, this is a really sharp ploy on at least a couple levels.
But there’s a downside as well, and that can occur in games that are close late. Using a key bullpen piece early means one less strong arm available late, and that can be critical in decision making with the bullpen in end game situations.
We saw how it works on both counts in the Yankees-Angels game. Using Bedrosian early made the task easier for Pena once he entered the game in the second inning. It worked like a charm as those two pitchers ended up performing well and the Halos bats did enough to forge a 5-0 lead.
The downside showed up later as Brad Ausmus was now down an arm in the pen. That perhaps played into his decision to keep a pair of relievers in longer than they probably should have been and it ended up likely costing the Angels a win as they blew the lead and lost 6-5.
Nothing is perfect and this game was a good example of both the upside and downside of the “opener” utilization. But on balance, I really like the concept and I absolutely can see more teams going this route when a back end starting pitcher is drawing an assignment.
I went 0-1 on Wednesday. as the Dodgers blew a 3-0 lead lost 7-6 to the Cubs. I was also on the Angels, who blew a 5-0 lead and lost 6-5 to the Yankees. How bad is that, right? The saving grace for me is that the Angels play ended up no action due to the starting pitcher change. so I got away with just the one loss on the Dodgers.
Here’s the Thursday free play. This will likely be just a half unit gamble for me if the price is right. No line as I’m posting this, so you’ll have to wait till the morning.
RANGERS (Hearn) at MARINERS (Gonzales)
I’m not sure Taylor Hearn is going to end up as a starting pitcher over the long haul. Scouts seem divided on whether his future is as a starter or a potential high leverage reliever. What’s clearer is that Hearn has some heat and is going to generate swings and misses. I like Hearn here at a price that should make him worth a wager in the underdog role.
LATE UPDATE: This line moved quickly from -165 to -145. I won’t be playing it at the current number as I’m not getting the required value.