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#pounditWednesday, January 20, 2021

Astros’ Gerrit Cole has harsh stance against ‘opener’ strategy

Gerrit Cole

Yet another pitcher has come out against the new “opener” pitching strategy.

Last season, the Tampa Bay Rays began regularly using a relief pitcher to start a game before handing things over to more of a long-inning starter type. The strategy, called using an “opener,” started being used somewhat regularly. The Oakland A’s even used it in the playoffs.

Even though the strategy is catching on, some players are strongly against it. Houston Astros starter Gerrit Cole ripped openers, saying he’s not paying to see a “math equation.”

That’s a jab at the analytical side of things, which is how the idea was popularized.

Cole isn’t the only pitcher opposed to openers. Giants starter Madison Bumgarner told manager Bruce Bochy he would walk out of the park if they tried to use an opener.

“If you’re using an opener in my game, I’m walking right out of the ballpark,” Bumgarner told Bochy.

Cole says that response would be extreme, but he still would not be alright with it.

Though it’s easy to treat players like statistics, this is a reminder that these are competitive athletes who want the ball and want to dominate every time it’s their turn to take the mound. That’s part of what makes them great.

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