SAN FRANCISCO – Tuesday night was a franchise first for the San Francisco Giants. Bruce Bochy and the Giants used an “opener” for the first time ever, a trend that is taking over baseball. The experiment did not go as planned though as the Giants ended up losing to the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3.
The Giants have struggled in first innings all year thus far, and the decision to experiment with an “opener” came as an attempt to solve some of those issues. Reliever Nick Vincent got the start and did not fare well, giving up three runs, including a homer to rookie sensation Vladimir Guerrero Jr. When asked about his experience post-game, Vincent talked about keeping his routine the same despite the unique situation.
“You try and go through the same motions, but it’s never the same no matter what you do”, Vincent said. “I tried to keep it the same as if I was coming out of the bullpen. I stretched out there, threw throughout the anthem and kept it as simple as possible. You leave balls over the plate, they’re going to get hit. Some bleeders are going to fall here and there, and today just didn’t work out for us.”
Coming into Tuesday’s game, Vincent was eager to participate in something that could break up the first inning rut the team has gotten itself into.
“Yeah, I thought we could break the little first inning curse we got going. We didn’t break it, I don’t know what we have to do to get out of this funk in the first inning. Going out there, giving what I had, it just didn’t work out today.”
When asked if anything, in particular, contributed towards his struggles, Vincent simply chalked it up to having a bad day.
“Yeah I missed pitches over the plate, and when I do that, I’m not going to have a good day. Whether it’s in the seventh inning or it’s in the first inning, when you miss pitches over the plate, they’re going to get hit.”
Tyler Beede followed Vincent after the rough first inning, throwing two-and-a-third innings, giving up one run while striking out five. Though he had inherited a few runs it was an overall encouraging outing for Beede. Having had both several starts in San Francisco and also seen time in the bullpen he discussed how tonight’s experience wasn’t anything too out of the ordinary.
“I tried, for the most part, to keep my routine similar to any other day that I would start”, Beede said. “I think what was fine was that last year I pitched out of the bullpen. The other day I came out of the bullpen, so it’s not something I’m not familiar with. For me it wasn’t anything that threw my routine off or anything, it was just a matter of shifting it back an inning, a couple of batters or a couple of minutes.”
Despite working in and out of a couple of jams, Beede threw the ball well. Striking out five over just two-and-a-third innings.
“I felt good, and obviously the result was not what anyone was looking for, but it’s just part of the process. I think everyone in here is working towards a specific goal and have to continue to trust what you’re doing out there.”
Shortly after Tuesday’s loss, Giants manager Bruce Bochy gave his thoughts on the experiment and what the overall big picture is moving forward regarding the “opener”. Will this one disappointing result deter the Giants from trying it again in the future?
“That’s one game”, Bochy said. “And really, if you look at this game, with Beede going, we thought this was the best thing for him and for the club. It’s not a big enough sample for somebody to say ‘that doesn’t work’. I don’t know if we’ll do that again or how many times we’ll do that again, but we’re not going to let one time dictate that.”
The Giants first go-around with the “opener” experiment did not go well. The first inning continues to be a thorn in the side of Giants pitching, and the solution remains unclear. However, who is starting tomorrows game is indeed clear. Rookie Shaun Anderson will get the start, making his Major League debut Wednesday as the Giants look to split a two-game series with the Blue Jays. Only time will tell if this rookie will be subjected to the Giants’ first inning curse.
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