Luis Severino’s redemption path: Yankees turn to opener strategy, Aaron Boone reveals

Luis Severino, the Yankees star
USA Today Sports
Amanda Paula
Wednesday August 9, 2023

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In a bid to revive right-hander Luis Severino’s performance amidst a disappointing season, the New York Yankees are set to experiment with the “opener” strategy. Yankees manager Aaron Boone confirmed this decision ahead of Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox.

Instead of starting in the first inning, Severino will yield the mound to reliever Ian Hamilton. This marks Hamilton’s second career big-league “start,” having previously served as an opener on July 1. After Hamilton’s stint, Severino is expected to take over, with the aim of putting him in a more favorable position to succeed. The specifics of the innings Hamilton will pitch before handing over to Severino remain unclear.

Facing media questions prior to the game, Aaron Boone acknowledged that Severino was not thrilled about the change but was open to the idea. Boone expressed hope that Severino would regain his form, saying, “I hope he’s the impact guy that we know he can be… as a starting pitcher. Hoping [today] is something that can change the look for him.”

Severino, 29, has encountered a rough patch this season, boasting a 7.74 ERA (55 ERA+) across 13 starts – far from his career averages (3.39 ERA, 126 ERA+). Recent performances have been especially lackluster, with Severino giving up five or more runs in three of his five most recent outings. Aaron Boone initially hadn’t confirmed Severino’s role in this particular start, but his openness now suggests a change in strategy.

The “opener” concept was introduced by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018, with the intention of providing a boost to the “bulk” pitcher – typically one expected to pitch for four or more innings. This approach minimizes exposure to the opponent’s top hitters, as pitchers tend to perform worse the more they face the same lineup. Notably, the success of the opener strategy hasn’t been universal, and it’s not a guaranteed solution to Severino’s struggles.

Nevertheless, the Yankees’ decision to try something new is understandable, especially since they currently trail the third and final American League wild-card spot by 4.5 games. While the opener approach might not transform Severino overnight, it signals the team’s willingness to explore innovative strategies to turn their season around.

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2 thoughts on “Luis Severino’s redemption path: Yankees turn to opener strategy, Aaron Boone reveals

  1. There is no reason Severino should be on ANY team. He stinks to high heaven. Jr could Stoke out a Single A player. The fact Loone keeps running him out there shows Loone knows nothing. Let a position player pitch. They couldn’t do worse.

  2. Gee, another failed attempt to keep Severino in the rotation.
    I guess no one explained to the Yankee’s front office that no matter which inning you insert Sevy into the lineup, it will be his first inning.
    How many games are the FO willing to lose in order to prove what the fans already know, that Severino is no longer a starting OR a relief pitcher?
    I give up on this “team”. They wouldn’t be a decent AAA team at this point, and with the Yankees’ brilliant front office making their ridiculous decisions concerning personnel, they might top out at the AA level.
    Un-stinking-believable. 🤮

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