The Oakland Athletics began utilizing an opener at the end of May in hopes that it would help some of the team’s young starters. The strategy isn’t always popular especially among traditional baseball fans, but can be effective when managed correctly. Friday’s game should be used as an example of how not to use an opener.
Sam Long started and worked around a single in a scoreless first. He returned to start the second and gave up back-to-back singles. The first hit probably should have been a red flag. I can’t fault Mark Kotsay for trying to bleed another inning from Long with two left-handed hitters among the first three. Still, he might have wanted to get another reliever up and ready at the first sign of trouble. Long walked Triston Casas after getting ahead 0-2 to load the bases. Instead of going to another reliever, Kotsay went with the designated bulk guy, rookie Luis Medina with the bases loaded and no outs. The same Medina that had issued 12 walks in his last two starts combined.
Kotsay said after the game that using the opener was about building confidence for a young pitching staff. Well by the time the smoke cleared in the second, five runs had scored. Nothing like a five-run inning to build confidence for a young starter. Credit Medina for settling down and giving the A’s six innings and a career-best nine strikeouts.
There is nothing wrong with the opener strategy, but the A’s execution has been severely lacking.
- A five-run second sinks the A’s in a 7-3 loss to the Red Sox
- Luis Medina stays in the mix with career-best 9 K’s
- Athletics place Esteury Ruiz on injured list, select contract of Cody Thomas
- Oakland and MLB are still talking. Why? And where do the Vegas-bound A’s fit in?
- Report: Phillies, Royals owners join MLB relocation committee
- How and when to watch Saturday’s Futures Game
- Fall of the slider: Why are hitters feating on MLB’s once-deadly breaking ball?
- Pinch-hitter Cristian Pache’s dramatic home run lifts Phillies to 13th straight road win
- Braves set first-half HR record to back ageless Morton
- Phillies’ Andrew Painter sent for testing after renewed elbow discomfort
- Adollis Garcia, Austin Hays join Randy Arozarena as starting outfielders for AL
- Shane Bieber drawing trade interest
- Marlins option Eury Perez in effort to reliever workload
- Pirates place Andrew McCutchen, Ke’Bryan Hayes on injured list
- Tigers to designate Jonathan Schoop for assignment
- Cardinals promote Jose Fermin, place Tommy Edman on IL
Best of Twitter
Mark Kotsay on Luis Medina’s outing
Mark Kotsay details what impressed him with Luis Medina's outing and arsenal of pitches tonight pic.twitter.com/BExXWfw2pJ— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 8, 2023
Zack Gelof is red hot for Las Vegas
A’s reliever Angel Felipe made his major league debut Friday night with a 1-2-3 inning.
A 1-2-3 inning for Angel Felipe in his MLB debut pic.twitter.com/NKUKjgKOVj— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 8, 2023
Other than Medina’s nine strikeouts, Seth Brown supplied the A’s other highlight from Friday’s loss.