Mancuso: Opener Formula Not Out Of Yanks Plans

Tuesday evening the Yankees hit five home runs and James Paxton on the mound tied his season high with  12 strikeouts to go along with seven scoreless innings. The Yankees followed a similar format Wednesday night in the Bronx as they took two of three from the Texas Rangers .

The difference though, two home runs. One from Aaron Judge and a solo shot from Gleber Torres, his 34th of the season and joined Joe DiMaggio as the only Yankee to do that at the age of 22 or younger.

The difference also in this 4-1 win, the opener and another bullpen game. The Yankees have found a formula of going this route and with success. 

First it was Chad Green, two hits in two innings. Luis Cessa, two hits in three innings. Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton and Cory Gearrin finished it up.  

Robert Cole/ NYSD

Cessa (2-1) got the win. When Chad Green starts the opener, the Yankees are 11-2. Yes, this is a formula of success, but will manager Aaron Boone use the Opener in October where the Yankees are a successful 13-2? 

“It’s something that certainly would be on the table for us because it is a way we can go and feel like we can really be effective,” Boone said.

 The Opener, and more than one team has been going with this formula. Some have success, others don’t.  The Yankees are using this to their advantage with a questionable starting rotation as they prepare for their October run to another championship.

And with Luis Severino on the mend, he is expected back on the mound in the next week, the Yankees have the perfect formula for an Opener in the postseason. Percentages do say that Severino, who has not thrown a pitch all year, will work out of the pen when he returns.

Aaron Judge continued his home run surge
 Aaron Judge continued his home run surge. Robert Cole/ NYSD

That will be the first experiment to this Opener formula for the Yankees. Because if Severino is effective out of the pen, a potential postseason bullpen game with Green, Cessa, Severino, that’s looking good.

In the meantime, Green has been a sensation in his Opening role. And the righthander has been scoreless in 10-of-13 Opening assignments with an ERA of 4.15, 17 innings pitched, 16 hits, 8 earned runs, 7 walks, 28 strikeouts, 4 home runs.

Cessa followed with 3.0 innings, 2 hits, 3 strikeouts, his fourth consecutive multi-inning scoreless appearance, 9,0 scoreless innings with 7 hits allowed, no walks, six strikeouts. The ERA 3.82 in 73 innings.

“ For the most part he’s been a guy that’s thrown the ball really well for us in some different roles,” Boone said. 

But we don’t know, and eventually will, how the numbers will fair with Severino. That could be a hit or miss. He could also slip himself  into a potential post season rotation, again all depending on how Severino is used in the final weeks of this season.

 Length for the Opener, give or take two or three innings. Maybe one, depending on how the bullpen rotation Opener is planned. And for the most part, seen from the numbers, Boone and his formula have been very successful when Green gets that start,

Of course all of this depends on how the postseason roster is constructed for the best-of-five AL Divisional Series. How many pitchers will the Yankees have in the pen, and how does the starting rotation got in this mix?

These are decisions for manager Aaron Boone, as the final 21 games of this season play out.

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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