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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Madison Bumgarner: ‘I’m walking right out of the ballpark’ if Giants use opener with ace

Madison Bumgarner’s thoughts on the opener movement that hit MLB during the 2018 season are about what you would expect: he is extremely not a fan.

During an appearance at the San Francisco Giants FanFest on Saturday, manager Bruce Bochy mentioned that he received a text from the team’s ace after new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the team might make use of an opener. The contents of the text were basically a threat.

The good news for Bumgarner and whoever would have to tell Bumgarner the team is using an opener is that the Giants are probably not going to be using an opener in front of Bumgarner.

Mind you, given his luck with injuries the last couple of seasons, his leverage on this subject is fairly minimal….

 

QLE Posted: February 10, 2019 at 04:07 AM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, madison bumgarner, opener

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   1. Rally Posted: February 10, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5814070)
Giants did alright using an opener in front of Bumgarner in 2014 game 7.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2019 at 11:05 AM (#5814073)
I'm sure the Giants aren't seriously considering using an opener in front of Bumgarner, but that would seem to be a profoundly stupid decision to do so. Granted, I think the one-inning opener is mostly pointless, but it would seem counter-productive do it in front of an ace lefthander.

I'm not sure what the rules on starting pitching/lineup assignments are, but I'm kind of surprised that MLB hasn't clarified this issue in the offseason. If they're not already required to do so, both teams should be required to submit their SP first, then the rest of the lineup and batting order.

   3. A triple short of the cycle Posted: February 10, 2019 at 11:40 AM (#5814083)
I hope Bumgarner goes away and refuses to do interviews when he retires.
   4. Jack Sommers Posted: February 10, 2019 at 12:27 PM (#5814095)
Bumgarner may have averaged 6.5 IP per start in his career, but the last 2 seasons:6.33 IP per start (38 starts 240 2/3 IP)


And they might want to reduce that even further as 3rd time through the order the last couple of years: 291 PA .298/.359/.496 .855 OPS

However in his case, looking at his First Inning and first PA of game numbers , both career and last couple of years, it doesn't seem likely the Giants are going to send out a better pitcher than Bumgarner to face the top of the order in the 1st inning

I think the opener strategy is best not applied to him. He's not a pleasant personality, but he's still the best pitcher they have.





   5. Jack Sommers Posted: February 10, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5814096)
I think the one-inning opener is mostly pointless


I think it has some merit if you simply feel that a reliever you are sending in is more likely to get through the 1st inning unscathed than your 4th or 5th best starter. Depends on your personnel.

But presumably the top 2 or 3 starters on most teams are a better bet to get through the 1st than anyone in your pen except maybe your closer or top setup guy.



   6. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2019 at 02:47 PM (#5814127)
I think it has some merit if you simply feel that a reliever you are sending in is more likely to get through the 1st inning unscathed than your 4th or 5th best starter. Depends on your personnel.


If your reliever is good enough that you trust him that much, then you're sacrificing the ability to leverage him later. If he's one of your back-end guys, then he's probably not likely to be better than your starter. It ultimately comes down to a shuffling of inning assignments, but not a true redistribution of the work, which is why it strikes me as pointless.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: February 10, 2019 at 04:00 PM (#5814143)
But that's why you apply it to 4th and 5th starters (and 6th/7th starters that you'll almost certainly need at some point in the season). The top of the lineup is already a leveraged situation. It is first a "non-redistribution of work" in that your 4th/5th starter will still hopefully face 20-22 batters ... and it is a redistribution in that the batters he faces for the 3rd time are not the opponents' best hitters.

IT's (a) borderline starter faces 22 batters and borderline reliever faces 4 batters to get you through 6 with the opponents' best hitters facing that tiring crappy starter for a 3rd time vs (b) borderline starter faces 22 batters and borderline reliever faces 4 batters to get you through 6 with the opponents' weaker hitters facing the tiring crappy starter for a 3rd time. So sure, that's a small advantage but it's an advantage and no reason not to take it.

Still Tampa's big innovation last year wasn't the opener, it was the regular use of a bullpen game over the last couple of months. For Sept 14-16, the Rays used 24 pitchers over 27 innings (obviously the expanded roster helped). In one of those games, Chirinos picked up 5.1 innings, otherwise nobody pitched more than 2 in a game. Down the stretch, Glasnow and Snell were the only traditional starters, some combo of Yarbrough, Chirinos or Wood would usually pick up two long-ish stretches in two other games and the 5th game was often straight bullpen.
   8. bbmck Posted: February 10, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5814147)
If Giants ownership believed Bumgarner they should sign him to a no risk extension, if he doesn't live up to the contract tell him to get ready to enter the game in the 2nd inning and you get out of the rest of the deal.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2019 at 04:26 PM (#5814150)

It's (a) borderline starter faces 22 batters and borderline reliever faces 4 batters to get you through 6 with the opponents' best hitters facing that tiring crappy starter for a 3rd time vs (b) borderline starter faces 22 batters and borderline reliever faces 4 batters to get you through 6 with the opponents' weaker hitters facing the tiring crappy starter for a 3rd time. So sure, that's a small advantage but it's an advantage and no reason not to take it.


Another name for a borderline reliever is a crappy pitcher. Forcing a crappy pitcher, even a fresh one, to face the top of the lineup every game and expecting good results seems like a fool's errand to me.

I'll believe it's an advantage when I see it.

Still Tampa's big innovation last year wasn't the opener, it was the regular use of a bullpen game over the last couple of months.


Agreed. That's where real opportunities for deviation exist. Not the opener.
   10. Stevey Posted: February 10, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5814152)
but it would seem counter-productive do it in front of an ace lefthander.


Actually, wouldnt in front of a NL lefthander be the ideal spot? The opponent will load their lineup with righties, so you can use a should-be-ROOGY for 3+ hitters. And then if you get an opener who can go 2+ innings, you can pinch hit for him. With his TTOP, Bumgarner seems to be close to the ideal candidate to open for.

to get through the 1st inning


Its not about who can get through the first inning the best, but how to get through the first six-seven innings in total the best. Pushing the starter back to the second lets him avoid seeing the opponents best hitters a third time until later. The leadoff hitter comes up for a third time as the starters 19 PA. Use an opener to get through the first four, and now the leadoff guy is the 24th PA.
   11. Stevey Posted: February 10, 2019 at 04:34 PM (#5814153)
Forcing a crappy pitcher, even a fresh one, to face the top of the lineup every game and expecting good results seems like a fool's errand to me.


Who said “good results”? Its just better expected results than the tired starter facing the top of the lineup a third time, which should have us expecting terrible, awful results.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2019 at 04:42 PM (#5814156)
Actually, wouldnt in front of a NL lefthander be the ideal spot? The opponent will load their lineup with righties


And that's why starting pitchers should be announced before the opponent's lineup. That's consistent with the other rules governing these calls (the offensive team gets the last change in a pitching change/PH situation, and the offensive team gets last call by Pat Venditte rules).

If Bumgarner's turn is due (and it wouldn't make sense to simply push back your best starter for a one-inning edge), but the Giants are starting a RHP opener, then the opponent ought to be able load up the front-end of the lineup with the lefties you'd prefer not have to face Bumgarner.

I'm assuming each team must now announce the full starting lineups simultaneously, which would produce teams trying to guess whether an opponent was going with the opener.

If MLB hasn't done so already, I would think the league would soon consider requiring the SPs be announced first.

   13. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2019 at 04:50 PM (#5814158)
Who said “good results”? Its just better expected results than the tired starter facing the top of the lineup a third time, which should have us expecting terrible, awful results.


If you don't expect good results from your opener, and you don't expect good results from your tiring starter, then lift your tiring starter before he gives you crappy results.

All of this seems predicated on the idea that the tiring starter is going to be hammered by the top of the order the third time through the order, but somehow he's immune to the effects of fatigue against the bottom of the order, though no one explains why.

I simply don't see how employing A from 1-5 and B in 6 is going to produce different results than B in 1 and A from 2-6, absent the ability to truly leverage the platoon edge from the pitching side (and I don't know how that can be better leveraged under the opener format than the traditional model).


   14. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 10, 2019 at 05:44 PM (#5814168)

If MLB hasn't done so already, I would think the league would soon consider requiring the SPs be announced first.


Wouldn't that just guarantee that everyone would immediately move to using openers? Or am I misunderstanding you?
   15. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: February 10, 2019 at 05:57 PM (#5814172)
If you don't expect good results from your opener, and you don't expect good results from your tiring starter, then lift your tiring starter before he gives you crappy results.

All of this seems predicated on the idea that the tiring starter is going to be hammered by the top of the order the third time through the order, but somehow he's immune to the effects of fatigue against the bottom of the order, though no one explains why.

It's not that he is immune to fatigue. It's that you need to get a certain amount of innings out of him, if you want to actually win the game. If you don't, then you are increasingly relying on your 6th or 7th pen arm. And you also risk burning out your bullpen for other games.
   16. bbmck Posted: February 10, 2019 at 06:00 PM (#5814173)
66 players started 140+ games in 2018, 101 had 130+, 133 had 120+, 167 had 110+ and 193 had 100+ starts. Bunch of those players have "that few" starts because of injury. Tommy La Stella 99 games as a sub, Yadiel Rivera 83, Greg Garcia 80, Hernan Perez 66 are the leaders among position players. 16 with 50+, 52 with 40+ and 87 position players with 30+ games as a sub. How many genuine platoons since Rance Mulliniks and Garth Iorg as opposed to we definitely want to play this guy more and we'll try to get as many of his rest days as we can against a lefty starter? The opener is never going to matter much in terms of platoon edge and setting aside pitcher Wins and pride it's probably the best max/min strategy in part because if your team scores a bunch early it may be optimal strategy to give one of your best starters an extra day off.
   17. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 10, 2019 at 06:19 PM (#5814178)
I simply don't see how employing A from 1-5 and B in 6 is going to produce different results than B in 1 and A from 2-6, absent the ability to truly leverage the platoon edge from the pitching side (and I don't know how that can be better leveraged under the opener format than the traditional model).


You get a tiny benefit at best, and at the cost (in this instance) of pissing off one of your best players. Why anyone thinks this is a good idea is beyond me. Note that the Rays did not use an opener with their best starting pitcher, even once.
   18. Tin Angel Posted: February 10, 2019 at 06:20 PM (#5814179)
He's not a pleasant personality, but he's still the best pitcher they have.


I'm a Giants fan, but I don't get why people dislike Bumgarner. From what I've read he said this jokingly. I guess I just have a soft spot for old school cantankerous types. Maybe it's one of those "if he's on your team" things.

Also, I once encountered him walking in downtown SF by Union Square. I have terrible eye sight at this point and he was a half block away and I was like "Holy #### that dude has the widest shoulders I've ever seen and is built like an absolute ####### brickhouse." We crossed paths and I realized it was him and he gave me glance that said "don't even think about it."
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2019 at 06:22 PM (#5814181)
Wouldn't that just guarantee that everyone would immediately move to using openers? Or am I misunderstanding you?


Hardly. If you announce that you're going with a righthanded opener instead of the lefty slated to follow, the opposing team can counter with a lineup that puts its lefties toward the top of the order to get the platoon edge in the first. It would discourage the opener.

It's not that he is immune to fatigue. It's that you need to get a certain amount of innings out of him, if you want to actually win the game. If you don't, then you are increasingly relying on your 6th or 7th pen arm. And you also risk burning out your bullpen for other games.


I understand. But if he's less effective the third time through the order, that condition is not limited to the top of the order hitters. He's also going to get hit harder by the bottom. And the No. 4 or 5 reliever, who is mildly effective under ordinary circumstances (which is what makes him the No. 4 or 5 reliever) is going to be less effective going against a steady diet of top of the order hitters than his normal distribution.

Maybe in time, the numbers will bear the theory out and the opener strategy will pay very modest dividends (or very modest drawbacks, who knows?) But until then, it just seems like shuffling.
   20. Bote Man Posted: February 11, 2019 at 03:37 AM (#5814235)
I love the assumption that every pitcher will always face exactly 3 hitters each inning regardless of ability.
   21. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 11, 2019 at 09:14 AM (#5814253)


If your reliever is good enough that you trust him that much, then you're sacrificing the ability to leverage him later.


Agreed. Even if I want to limit the number of times my starter faces the #1-3 hitters, why not wait until later in the game to replace him -- then you can determine whether to bring in one of your best relievers or one of your lousy ones depending on how close the score is.

You have a limited number of innings you can get from your good relievers. You want to maximize the leverage of those.
   22. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 11, 2019 at 10:11 AM (#5814264)
What a ####### crybaby.
   23. Stevey Posted: February 12, 2019 at 12:03 AM (#5814514)
then the opponent ought to be able load up the front-end of the lineup with the lefties you'd prefer not have to face Bumgarner.


Youve now set up your lineup to give Bumgarner a better chance to get through it three times. You wont sacrifice innings 2-7 to get an advantage in 1. The lineup still needs to be set to prepare for the guy who will pitch the longest.


somehow he's immune to the effects of fatigue against the bottom of the order, though no one explains why.


No one said hes immune, and your argument is a whole lot stronger if you quit it with the bullshit strawmen. The approach is that a fresh reliever represents more of an upgrade over a tired starter against the top of the order than the bottom, as the weaker hitters at the bottom can do less damage. Maybe its not true, and no ones holding a gun to your head to go with it. But at least debate the statements actually being made.
   24. Stevey Posted: February 12, 2019 at 12:05 AM (#5814515)
then lift your tiring starter before he gives you crappy results.


Then he gets fewer outs, meaning you have to use a second reliever, while still expecting crappy results from your middle reliever against the top of the order.
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: February 12, 2019 at 01:41 AM (#5814521)

You've now set up your lineup to give Bumgarner a better chance to get through it three times. You wont sacrifice innings 2-7 to get an advantage in 1. The lineup still needs to be set to prepare for the guy who will pitch the longest.


You're not sacrificing innings 2-7. You're giving the guys Bumgarner is most likely to succeed against the fewest number of at bats against Bumgarner.

Put another way: if it's an advantage to get your opener the platoon edge in inning 1, it's a similar disadvantage to lose the platoon edge for that inning. It doesn't work any other way.

No one said hes immune, and your argument is a whole lot stronger if you quit it with the bullshit strawmen.


It's absolutely implied. You don't want a starting pitcher facing the top of the order a third time through, but you're perfectly willing to let him face the bottom of the order a third time through.

Look at this way: in terms of reducing the number of runs scored in innings 1-7, who is the best possible candidate to serve as the opener? Obviously, your best reliever (your starter would give up the same number of runs in innings 2-6 no matter who is starting, but your ace reliever would have the greatest disparity between expected runs allowed vs. the tired starter the third time through against hitters 1-3ish.

But you don't want to use your best reliever there, because it means you can't optimally leverage the 60 or so innings he's going to give you over the course of a season. And each rung down the reliever ladder you go reduces the expected disparity in runs allowed, but it also reduces how much you'd want to be able to leverage that arm.

Is it possible that, when all is said and done, there's a small gain to be had from the opener? Sure. It's equally possible that it would lead to a small decline.

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