Today the Dodgers play the Giants in the final game of NLDS, both tied at 2 games apiece. The Dodgers originally slated Julio Urias as their starter which makes sense since he’s a regular good pitcher in their starting rotation.
After awhile they switched to Corey Knebel, a reliever, as their “starter” which is something unique in modern baseball. Instead of a closer, they now have an opener which is a reliever that gets the top of the lineup out for the regular starter. If Wins/Loss stats for pitchers wasn’t screwed up before, this totally makes that stat meaningless because no long do managers even care about keeping their pitchers around to qualify for a standard win.
This also messed up Tier Combo simulation which can be seen here. With Knebel starting SFN had an advantage of +1 in their lineup to LAN starter combo. Urias is a 2+ tier pitcher and this combo would have switched to +1 for LAN lessening the SFN advantage to around 0.535 where the Vegas lines settled upon.
EV for LAN with Knebel was +108 which made this a border line betting situation but with Urias starting it is no way a betting situation. This opener strategy is becoming more and more common which will make handicapping far more difficult in upcoming seasons unless there is a way to predict who the real starter is. Teams right now only publish the pitcher pitching the first inning.
After we process the 2021 event data in the off season we’ll see if there’s a way to predict games with openers because that can really throw off Tier Combo simulation results.