Saturday, February 25, 2012
Mike Mussina, 2000 Pacific Omega #19
-Mike Mussina and Jim Palmer: 6 starts each
-Dave McNally: 5
-Jeremy Guthrie, Rodrigo Lopez, Steve Barber: 3
-Rick Sutcliffe, Mike Boddicker, Mike Flanagan, Dennis Martinez, Milt Pappas: 2
And of course, the one-timers.
-Kevin Millwood, Erik Bedard, Sidney Ponson, Scott Erickson, Pat Hentgen, Jimmy Key, Jeff Ballard, Bob Milacki, Dave Schmidt, Storm Davis, Scott McGregor, Steve Stone, Pat Dobson, Tommy Phoebus, Billy Hoeft, Jerry Walker, Jack Harshman, Connie Johnson, Hal Brown, Bill Wight, Lou Kretlow, Don Larsen
Which names are surprising to you? Only three pitchers had more Opening Day starts for the Birds than Guthrie, and they're the three best in club history. Rodrigo Lopez's three starts may seem to be an indicator of the team's lack of pitching depth in the 2000s, but two of those assignments came on the heels of his very good 2002 (15-9, 3.57 ERA) and 2004 (14-9, 3.59) seasons. Dave Schmidt's start in the 1989 opener seems like an odd choice in hindsight, since he wound up with an astronomical 5.69 ERA on a surprisingly competitive young team that had a cumulative 4.00 ERA on the season. But he'd been much better than that in 1988, with a 3.40 ERA in a swingman role for a much worse O's team. Besides, Frank Robinson had no way of knowing how well Ballard and Milacki would pitch in '89.
So who's your pick for Opening Day 2012? I'll go out on a limb and say it's Zach Britton. Now I've probably doomed him to have a slow recovery from his ongoing bout of shoulder soreness.