In an era where bullpenning has become more popular, managers have been looking for new ways to gain the competitive edge for their team, especially in regards to their bullpens.
The concept of the “Opener”, a pitcher who starts the game before the intended starter, was last seen in the 2018 NLCS when Brewers manager Craig Counsell pulled LHP Wade Miley after one batter and called in RHP Brandon Woodruff. It seemed that Counsell helped pioneered the concept of bullpenning, even during high-stakes Postseason games.
Now, it seems that the Brewers skipper has made another breakthrough. Counsell announced the latest in revolutionary pitching tactics: the Commencer.
“I think it’s revolutionary,” said Counsell. “Here’s how it goes: First, you have your Starter. Before your Starter, you have your Opener. Before your Opener, you have your Dude That Kicks The Game Off. Before your Dude That Kicks The Game Off, you have your Beginner. Before your Beginner, you have your First Pitcher. Before your First Pitcher, you have your Actual First Pitcher. Then, before your Actual First Pitcher, you have your Commencer. Which I think is going to be a role that will change pitching as we know it.”
When asked about the implications of the strategy, the Brewers skipper admitted to the idea’s infancy.
“There are some kinks to work out, like the fact that our Starter has to finish the whole game since we don’t have anyone to relieve him, but we’ll find a way around it. The strategy is already so promising, even in its early stages,” commented Counsell.
Though the effectiveness of the Commencer has yet to be seen, it has already begun to attract interest from other managers, notably: Joe Maddon.