In the first 15 games, the Pirates’ starting pitching has surrendered at least one run within the first two innings of play except on April 12th against the Chicago Cubs, where the Buccos lost 2-1 at home. These kinds of trends would suggest the possibility of an opener.
Although it’s not a traditional thing, or used often, both manager Derek Shelton and general manager Ben Cherington have suggested the possibility of using an opener for their starters. Cherington continued to suggest the possibility on his radio show Sunday.
“This may open the opportunity to see an opener, and at some point, I expect we may see some of that, “said Cherington. “We want to give the [starters] an opportunity to adjust and get into a rhythm early into the season.”
The starters have barely got into a routine as of yet, so it is expected that these guys will be given every opportunity to stretch out and show Shelton and upper management that they have the tools to start the game from pitch one.
“We’re looking to move beyond traditional titles,” said Cherington. “We’re going to focus on how this group of pitchers can give us the best chance to win day in and day out. Obviously, someone will throw the first pitch, so if you want to call that guy a starter, you can, but the overriding goal is to put these guys in the best position possible to get as many outs as quickly as possible.”
Cherington wanted to make clear that they are trying to drift away from traditional titles and roles within the team. Cherington believes that every single pitcher on the staff has the best “equipment and skills” to be successful at the Major League level.
More time will be needed before we see any changes to the traditional roles on the Pirates, but it’s safe to say that the club may eventually switch to more non-traditional roles like an opener.