The Angels deployed the opener on Sunday, April 21st, against the Seattle Mariners. The Angels used relief pitcher Hansel Robles to start the game instead of having starter Jaime Barria start the game.
The game was Hansel Robles first start in the big leagues and first start since 2014 in the minor leagues with the New York Mets.
The thought behind Manager Brad Ausmus having Robles open the game was to face the top of Seattle’s order which was Right Fielder Mitch Haniger, Left Fielder Domingo Santana, and First Baseman Edwin Encarnacion. They had a combined 17 home runs between the three of them coming into Sunday’s game. Jaime Barria also has better numbers against lefties and since all three were hit right-handed it made sense for Ausmus to deploy the opener.
The Opener worked as Robles struck out Haniger and got a ground out and a lineout from Santana and Encarnacion respectively. Barria was then brought in to pitch in the 2nd inning and wound up pitching through the sixth inning. He went on to give up 1 run while giving up 4 hits in his 5 innings of work. Jaime Barria gave up a total 4 hits with 3 of them coming against the top of the lineup of Haniger (1) and Santana (2).
Manager Brad Ausmus stated that “It worked today” speaking about the opener. “But you can’t do it on a daily basis. But I’m sure when there are opportunities to do it, we’ll do it to help us win games.”
With the Angels having success with the opener they will deploy it somewhere down the line if the starter does not have good numbers versus the first three batters of the game.
Featured Image: Chris Carlson / Associated Press