From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:
For starters, I will never be a proponent of the opener, where a relief pitcher starts a baseball game and tosses an inning or two before replaced either by a more notable starting pitcher or another reliever.
Can you image back in the day bulldog starters Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale entering in the third inning and not getting the starting call in favor of an obscure reliever? Gibson and Drysdale would have none of that.
But, baseball is different in the 21st century, with an eye preserving the arms of a team’s best pitchers. Teams now adopt a modern pitching strategy that maximizes the impact of a bountiful bullpen.
The Tampa Bay Rays began this unusual concept May 19, 2018, when Sergio Romo “opened” against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Rays’ current rotation includes Charlie Morton, reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and a pair of openers.
Teams use openers for two reasons. One, there’s a true shortage of capable starters, and two, managers elect their true starter or reliever to enter in the second or third inning so an opposing lineup won’t see him for three at-bats.
The Yankees’ Chad Green, whose has had a miserable season compounded with an earlier demotion to Triple-A, opened Sunday and allowed two runs on three hits, getting the first five outs before exiting.
Green’s numbers now are 0-2, a 13.50 earned-run average and 28 baserunners allowed in just 11 1/3 innings.
n Maximum Security owner Gary West is the front-runner for 2019’s biggest sourpuss. His horse was disqualified after winning the Kentucky Derby for interference, and later filed a protest with the Kentucky Racing Commission. After that failure, he went to federal court and asked that the original finish stand. West has now offered $5 million to a horse owner involved in the Kentucky Derby controversy that could beat Maximum Security in a race before Dec. 31.
War of Will was affected by the obstruction, finishing eighth, but later moved up to seventh after the DQ, and gained some satisfaction with Saturday’s non-controversial Preakness Stakes victory.
War of Will paid $14.20 for a $2 win bet. Runner-up Everfast was a 50-to-1 long shot and the exacta combo returned $947 for a $2 bet. The $1 trifecta paid $4,699.80 and the $1 superfecta returned $51,924.
Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org