Earlier today, our series preview talked about how the Yankees did not list a probable pitcher for tonight’s game against the Rays. That’s because team waited until late this afternoon to name Jonathan Holder, a relief pitcher, as the starter.
Holder, 25, is in the midst of a breakout season. He’s pitched to a 2.97 ERA with a 2.75 FIP across 63.2 innings. He owns a fine 8.20 K/9 rate, and does an even better job at preventing the home run ball. His 0.42 HR/9 mark represents a great improvement over his 1.14 number last year. Save for a complete meltdown at Fenway Park in early August, Holder has been one of Aaron Boone’s most reliable arms out of the bullpen.
Monday night’s game will be the first time the Yankees employed an opener. Although they effectively bullpened last year’s Wild Card Game, and essentially had bullpen games whenever Sonny Gray started, this appears the first time the team used the strategy intentionally. The idea gained popularity when the Rays basically abandoned traditional starting pitchers, and it seems to have spread across league.
What do you think of the decision to start Holder? Are you in fan of the opener? Let us know how you feel in the comment section!