2. More Bullpen Games/Openers, Please!
Chad Green proved in 2019 that the Yankees can use an “opener” successfully.
This goes hand in hand with what we just talked about. Using the top prospects for spot starts would essentially be a bullpen game unless they’re absolutely rolling and can go 2-3 innings. But here we’re talking about the use of actual relievers.
Any which way you look at it, the Yankees really only have a three-man rotation with Cole-Tanaka-Paxton. Like we’ve said a hundred times, we can no longer bank on Domingo German coming back and pitching lights out — he’s lost for the season. Gumby is coming off Tommy John surgery. JA Happ can be used a hybrid starter/reliever (let’s be honest, he won’t be used as a starter most of the time if Boone can help it). Maybe let’s give Tommy Kahnle and Adam Ottavino some action as an opener? Dare I suggest Chapman?
This could be a good tactic for when the playoffs roll around. Attack the opposition’s hitters when they’re at their strongest with a fresh pitcher each inning to kick off the game, then use some guys for 2-3 innings as we approach the ninth.
Changing up the pitching styles early in a high-stakes game will go a long way towards throwing off hitters and breaking them down as the game progresses. It might sound crazy — truly, it does — but with an expanded postseason, creativity will be key. We’ve seen the Yankees bats go dead in the postseason before, so a fresh approach with the pitching staff to keep opposing offenses at bay will help offset a sluggish start from New York’s sluggers.