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Bruce Bochy discusses decision to use “opener”, how it’s perceived amongst veteran players


SAN FRANCISCO – The future of baseball is here, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy is onboard. Monday the Giants announced that reliever Nick Vincent will be starting Tuesday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Giants are using an opener.

We heard rumblings about the Giants potentially experimenting with the “opener” at some point this year, and after the team has allowed 44 first-inning runs thus far, Bochy and the Giants decided it was time to try something new. Bochy talked about the decision to start Vincent as an “opener”.

“I think it’s pretty obvious we’ve had our struggles here early in games,” Bochy said. “So yeah, break it up and with the guys following him, we decided to go with Vincent, we decided to shake things up here more than anything. When you look at our track record in the past couple weeks, it’s not very good here in the early go, so you do things to shake it up and that’s what we’re doing right now.”

Following Vincent in Tuesday night’s game will likely be someone the team can use for a few innings, a long-reliever. Bochy would not name who, but there’s a chance that Tyler Beede could make his third appearance of the season in relief of Vincent.

“I don’t know if he’ll be the number two guy, but there’s a good chance you’ll see him.”

With a game entrenched in tradition like baseball, a concept like an “opener” may not sit well with longtime fans and veteran players. However, Bochy said he did not have to do much explaining to his guys.

“I think they understand. Now a veteran, sure, if you were going to do that to a veteran then maybe you’d have to explain the logic behind it. But in this case with Beede going, you’re a young kid that could be starting, it makes a little bit more sense. Again, with our early struggles, we just decided ‘hey let’s break this thing up.'”

A concept such as an opener is not as cut and dry as someone going one inning and then moving on to somebody else. Bochy said that traditional pitching can follow a “script” but was asked about his gameplan for Vincent and how it could break that mould.

“There is a script, but it’s not that defined, it could be one inning. I’m saying that as if you come up in the bottom of the inning with bases loaded, you may hit for him then. You always want to have somebody who can be the ‘bulk guy’, I guess that’s what its called now. You’ll use a couple of relievers early until you get to the point where you want to use your bulk-inning guy.”

The Giants, now more than ever, are open to trying new ways to fix their pitching issues and get their offense and defense firing at the same time. Bochy was asked about his thoughts on this mismatch and about which one he thinks will iron itself out first.

“I’d say its the pitching side, that’s a definite. I just don’t see that continuing. Odds are that’s not going to happen, a lot of teams had struggles in the first inning, but when you give up that many runs, I just don’t see that continuing.”

With the issues they’ve had in the first inning, the “opener” may be a solution to getting out to earlier leads and fixing their first inning run differential.

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