MLB

MLB Opening Day starter tracker: Full list of pitchers starting Game 1, including D-Backs’ Madison Bumgarner

LHP Madison Bumgarner. This will be the second straight Opening Day start for Bumgarner with the Diamondbacks (he also started five season openers with the Giants). Righty Zac Gallen, fresh off a 2.75 ERA in 72 innings last year, may have gotten the nod had he not suffered a hairline fracture in his forearm swinging a bat earlier this month. The last D-Backs pitcher to start consecutive Opening Days was Zack Greinke in 2016-17. LHP Max Fried. The Braves have announced southpaw Max Fried as their starter for their April 1 tilt versus the Phillies. Fried finished fifth in Cy Young Award voting last fall after posting a 2.25 ERA (216 ERA+) in 56 innings. LHP John Means. No surprise here. Means had an All-Star season in 2019 and finished second on the staff in innings last season behind the since-traded Alex Cobb. The Orioles haven’t had a pitcher make consecutive Opening Day starts since Chris Tillman in 2014-16. RHP Nathan Eovaldi. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez had been slated to make the Opening Day start for Boston, but he was diagnosed with a dead arm late in spring training. While the team says the move is precautionary in nature, they won’t send Rodriguez to the mound on April 1 against the Orioles. Instead, Eovaldi gets the call. He’s coming off a 2020 season in which he pitched to a 3.72 ERA and 7.43 K/BB ratio in nine starts.  RHP Kyle Hendricks. This was a formality once Yu Darvish was traded. The April 1 contest against the Pirates will be the second straight Opening Day start for Hendricks, according to The Athletic. Prior to Hendricks, Jon Lester had started the previous three season-openers for the North Siders.  RHP Lucas Giolito. The White Sox announced that Giolito will make back-to-back Opening Day starts on March 15, per MLB.com’s Scott Merkin. Giolito is the first White Sox starter with consecutive Game 1 nods since Chris Sale in 2013-14. If he can make it three straight, he’ll join a select group since World War II that includes Mark Buehrle (twice), Jack McDowell, Wilbur Wood, and Billy Pierce. The White Sox open the season on April 1 with a visit to the Angels. RHP Luis Castillo. With Sonny Gray dealing with a back injury, Castillo became the obvious pick to start Opening Day for the Reds. This will be his second career Opening Day start, having previously kicked off the 2019 campaign. The Reds have not had a pitcher making consecutive Opening Day starter since Johnny Cueto from 2012-15. RHP Shane Bieber. Cleveland named Bieber its Opening Day starter against the Tigers, per MLB.com’s Mandy Bell. Bieber will be making his second consecutive Game 1 start. Should he make a third, he’ll join Corey Kluber, Justin Masterson, CC Sabathia, and Bartolo Colon as the Cleveland starters to do so since the last round of expansion. RHP German Marquez. Marquez led last year’s staff in innings pitched and will get the nod for the second straight Opening Day. He is the sixth pitcher in franchise history to start consecutive Opening Days, joining Jon Gray, Ubaldo Jimenez, Mike Hampton, Darryl Kile, and Kevin Ritz. LHP Matthew Boyd. New manager A.J. Hinch confirmed Body will start the season-opener, according to the Detroit Free Press. It will be his second consecutive Opening Day start. The Tigers have had only one pitcher start three consecutive Game 1s since 1998’s expansion. That individual? You guessed it, Justin Verlander. RHP Zack Greinke. The Astros announced on March 15 that Greinke will start their opener against the Athletics, according to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. This will mark Greinke’s first Opening Day start with the Astros, but not the first of his career. He previously started for the Royals in 2010 and the Diamondbacks in 2016, 2017, and 2019. Justin Verlander had made three consecutive Opening Day starts for Houston. RHP Brad Keller. Keller will be Kansas City’s Opening Day starter for the second time in three years, according to MLB.com’s Anne Rogers. Danny Duffy and Mike Minor were the other top candidates. Duffy started Opening Day in 2017, 2018, and 2020. Only Dennis Leonard (four) and Kevin Appier (seven) have more season-opener starts in franchise history. RHP Dylan Bundy. The Angels announced on March 15 that Dylan Bundy will receive the honor of starting against the White Sox come April 1, according to MLB.com’s Alyson Footer. The Angels haven’t had someone start consecutive Opening Days since Jered Weaver did it from 2010-15. There’s no guarantee Bundy will break that streak, as he’s scheduled to hit free agency come wintertime. LHP Clayton Kershaw. Manager Dave Roberts announced on March 14 that Kershaw will make his ninth career Opening Day start, according to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez. Kershaw was robbed of the honor by injury in each of the past two years, including last July when he was a late scratch in favor of Dustin May. Kershaw is a free agent at season’s end, and it’s possible this is his final Opening Day as a member of the organization. The Dodgers will begin the year on April 1 in Colorado against the Rockies. RHP Sandy Alcantara. This will be Alcantara’s second straight Opening Day start, per MLB.com. The right-hander has been rock steady since arriving in Miami as part of the Marcell Ozuna trade with the Cardinals. Alcantara owns a 3.69 ERA in 273 1/3 innings with the Marlins and was an All-Star in 2019. Jose Urena was the last pitcher to start Opening Day for the Marlins prior to Alcantara. RHP Brandon Woodruff. Once again, Woodruff will get the ball on Opening Day, according to MLB.com. He will be the first Brewers starter to start back-to-back season-openers since Yovani Gallardo in 2010-14, ending a stretch of six different Opening Day starters in six years. RHP Kenta Maeda. The Twins announced on March 14 that Maeda will start on April 1 against the Brewers, per MLB.com’s Bill Ladson. Maeda will snap Jose Berrios’ consecutive Opening Day starts streak at two. It will be the first Opening Day start of Maeda’s career, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone given that he spent his first four seasons with the Dodgers. RHP Jacob deGrom. It should come as a surprise to no one that deGrom will be starting his third consecutive Opening Day. The Mets made it official on March 6, according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. DeGrom is the first Mets starter to start three Game 1s in a row since Johan Santana did it in 2008-10. The Mets will open their season against the Nationals on April 1. RHP Gerrit Cole. Although manager Aaron Boone never came out and explicitly said Cole will start Opening Day, he said he expects Gary Sanchez to catch him on Opening Day, and that’s more than enough confirmation for us. Looking ahead, Cole would need to start five additional Opening Days after this one to tie Mel Stottlemyre, Whitey Ford, and Ron Guidry for the most in franchise history. That’s worth knowing given that Cole is under contract through the 2028 season. RHP Chris Bassitt. The Athletics will be sending out Chris Bassitt for their April 1 opener against the Astros. The 32-year-old Bassitt had a great 2020 season, finishing eighth in the AL Cy Young voting. He recorded a 2.29 ERA (177 ERA+) in 63 innings. RHP Aaron Nola. The Phillies have named Nola as the Opening Day starter on April 1 against the Braves. Zack Wheeler will get the nod in the second game of the season, per manager Joe Girardi. Nola becomes the first Phillies hurler to start four consecutive opening days since Steve Carlton in the 80s. (Carlton started 10 in a row.) RHP Chad Kuhl. Kuhl will get the ball on Opening Day, manager Derek Shelton announced during an in-game television interview late in spring training. The 28-year-old returned from Tommy John surgery last year and had a 4.27 ERA in 46 1/3 innings. Kuhl will be Pittsburgh’s sixth different Opening Day starter in the last six years, joining Joe Musgrove, Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova, Gerrit Cole, and Francisco Liriano. RHP Jack Flaherty. The Cardinals wasted no time anointing Flaherty as their Opening Day starter against the Reds, giving him that tag back in February. As a result, Flaherty will be making his second consecutive Game 1 start. It tracks that he could well make a third Opening Day start in a row; if so, he’d join Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Matt Morris as the only Cardinals to accomplish that feat since the last round of expansion. RHP Yu Darvish. The Padres had no shortage of deserving candidates and they’re giving the ball to Darvish, the reigning NL Cy Young runner-up. Darvish will be San Diego’s sixth different Opening Day starter in the last six years, joining Chris Paddack (2020), Eric Lauer (2019), Clayton Richard (2018), Jhoulys Chacin (2017), and Tyson Ross (2016). RHP Kevin Gausman. Rather than go with the veteran Johnny Cueto, the Giants are giving the ball to Gausman on Opening Day. It is not undeserving given his 2020 performance. Gausman will be San Francisco’s fourth different Opening Day starter in the last four years, joining Cueto (2020), Madison Bumgarner (2019), and Ty Blach (2018). LHP Marco Gonzales. Seattle manager Scott Servais announced in February that Gonzales would be the Game 1 starter, making him the first pitcher this year to receive that designation, per MLB.com . For Gonzales, it’ll mark his third consecutive Opening Day start, putting him one off from joining Jamie Moyer, Randy Johnson, and Felix Hernandez as the lone Mariners to notch at least four with Seattle. RHP Tyler Glasnow. After trading Blake Snell and letting Charlie Morton leave as a free agent, Glasnow was the obvious candidate to get the Opening Day nod, and manager Kevin Cash and has since made it official. Glasnow will be the fourth different Opening Day starter for Tampa Bay in the last three years, joining Snell, and Chris Archer (now back with the Rays after a stay in Pittsburgh). Archer and James Shields are the only pitchers in Rays history to make more than three Opening Day starts for the franchise. RHP Kyle Gibson. The Rangers announced on March 16 that right-hander Kyle Gibson will make the Opening Day start against the Royals, per Stefan Stevenson of the Star-Telegram. This will mark Gibson’s first career Game 1 start. The Rangers haven’t had a pitcher start consecutive Opening Days for them since Kevin Millwood did it from 2006-09. LHP Hyun Jin Ryu. No surprise here. Ryu will make his second straight Opening Day start in Toronto after signing a four-year contract as a free agent last offseason. He is the fourth Blue Jays pitcher to start multiple Game 1s since 1998, joining Roy Halladay, Ricky Romero, and R.A. Dickey. RHP Max Scherzer. Make it four consecutive Opening Day starts for Scherzer, and six Opening Day starts in the last seven years. Manager Dave Martinez confirmed it will indeed be Scherzer, reports MLB.com. The last National to start consecutive Opening Days prior to Scherzer was (who else?) Stephen Strasburg, who started three straight from 2012-14.



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