Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Opening Day Starter Trivia 2020


Verlander makes his 11th career opening day start, tying him for the active lead. Photo via sporting News.

Verlander makes his 12th career opening day start, putting him in the clear lead. Photo via sporting News.

Every year I update this long-running XLS for this increasingly anachronistic relic of tracking Opening Day Starter honors for teams.  But it does make for some good trivia questions.

After this year’s opening day, which involved few fans and

  • Most Opening Day StartsActive Leaders:
    • Justin Verlander makes his 12th career Opening day start, double the next closest competitor now.
    • Next closest are two veterans, each of which who has 8 career opening day starts, neither of which made 2020 opening day starts (Clayton Kershaw and Jon Lester).
    • Special mention of Felix Hernandez, who is technically active with the Braves but is not on their 40-man roster.  He has 11 but seems like a longshot to make another.
  • Current Leading Consecutive streak:
    • 3; shared by Verlander, Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola
    • Julio Teheran had a streak of 6 broken this year; he signed with the Angels in the off-season
  • Number of first-time Opening Day Starters in 2020: 18 of 30
    • Soroka, Alcantara, Hendricks, Woodruff, Musgrove, Flaherty, Marquez, May, Paddock, Milone, Eovaldi, Morton, Giolito, Bieber, Boyd, Heaney, Montas, Lynn
    • This is easily the highest number of 1st time opening day starters since I started tracking this.
  • Most surprising opening-day starters in 2020:
    • Tommy Milone getting the opening day start for Baltimore.  Just crazy.
    • Sonny Gray getting his 3rd career opening day start, 5 years after last getting one for Oakland.
    • Johnny Cueto getting his 5th career opening day start, also 5 years after his last.
    • Trevor May, who gets a last minute spot start filling in for the injured Kershaw.  The rich keep getting richer out in LA; he was more than adequate, quite a showing for a guy who would normally be in AAA yet could clearly make nearly every other rotation in the league.

Historically, here’s the all-time record holders:

  • Most Ever Opening day StartsTom Seaver with 16.  Tied for 2nd place with 14 is Jack Morris, Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton
  • Most Consecutive Opening Day StartsJack Morris, all of whom’s 14 opening day starts were in a row.

Hope you enjoy this useless trivia!

12 Responses to 'Opening Day Starter Trivia 2020'

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  1. Hard not to be excited after tonight. Fedde overcoming all of those errors, Ryne Harper stepping up as a new guy, no earned runs from a bullpen without the big 3, Robles and Taylor popping – and early Taylor power yet, and Cabrera stepping up to make his statement.

    Nine runs without Soto and Rendon. Feels good.


    25 Jul 20 at 11:14 pm

  2. fore, hard not to be upbeat after your #7 starter entering spring training overcomes such adversity. Four errors in two innings, my word!

    Look forward to his next start.

    That Yankee lineup is so formidable yet was shut down.

    Mark L

    26 Jul 20 at 7:38 am

  3. Big fan of Fedde’s start.

    Todd Boss

    26 Jul 20 at 9:07 am

  4. Yes. When I heard the news about Stras, and that Fedde would replace him, my heart sank yet again. Then the Nats went out and embarrassed one of the best starters in AL, and Fedde had one of his best starts ever despite the frightening defense in the first two innings.

    While tripping all over themselves to laud the second coming of the ’27 Yankees, the ESPN and Fox announcers forgot a key point — there’s a reason the Nats are the defending world champs. They have guts and fortitude, and every one of those players now has an extra jolt of confidence from having played in so many big games. Actually, Smoltz did “get it,” mentioning several times his amazement at the Nats’ performance in those five elimination games, perhaps because he was on so many teams that were so close but lacked that level of clutch. (Not Smoltz’s fault; he had an amazing 15-4 postseason record.)

    A couple of observations, based on a very SSS: Robles looks ready to take the next step, which this team REALLY need right now. Also, sure wish they would go on and settle that Cabby is the starting 3B. Great diving stop plus super night at the plate. On the down side, not sure what’s up with Trea. His head doesn’t seem to be in the game right now. You never know what might be going on behind the scenes to cause that.


    26 Jul 20 at 9:09 am

  5. A negative note: how the flip do they expect to run this “season” without fast and reliable test results?!? It’s FOUR days since Soto’s retest and still crickets. But gosh darn-it, we’ve managed to expand those playoffs . . .

    Positive note: great start to the season by Rainey, Harper, Finnegan, and Bourque. If that quartet pans out, the Nats’ chances of a solid season improve immeasurably.

    Curious note: caught a little of the Dodger-Giant game before the Nats. If Howie blows up the Dodgers again this year, will those fake fans leave as fast as the real ones did? (Also has to be concerning for the Blue that Kershaw is hurting and Alex Wood got clobbered by a not-very-good team.)


    26 Jul 20 at 12:14 pm

  6. Okay, I’m confused. Which was the ‘A’ bullpen and which was the ‘B’ bullpen again?

    Mark L

    26 Jul 20 at 5:05 pm

  7. Elias to 60-day dl. I now have the rosters as follows:
    – 28/28 on active roster
    – 37/40 on 40-man roster: two 60-day DL guys plus Barrera from previously full 40-man, plus 2 opt-outs
    – 57/60: Barrera and Elias removed from 60-man roster; we were at 59/60 after Castillo opt out.

    Todd Boss

    27 Jul 20 at 9:03 am

  8. Todd Boss

    27 Jul 20 at 10:13 am

  9. OK, the Marlin situation is already making it difficult to see how this thing is sustainable.

    Mark — Yes, I think Rainey is making a case to join the A-Team. We’ll have to see who get demoted.

    Sunday in general: it’s hard to be too upset losing a hard-fought game against perhaps the best team in baseball. That said, it followed a pattern that I fear may become common this season: great starting pitching, but bullpen and offense not quite good enough. Interesting to see that the Yanks have already decided that Howie is the guy to pitch around. I’m still not convinced that Castro is a #3 hitter. It was good to see Trea start having a little success and causing havoc. There are very, very few guys who are going to beat out a chopper to the 2B.


    27 Jul 20 at 10:19 am

  10. In today’s context, the next question should always be – how many false positives?


    27 Jul 20 at 2:18 pm

  11. Well, since we’re STILL waiting on the Soto re-test results, are they going to cancel a week of Marlin games until they get the results? This whole deal is built on fast and accurate test results, neither of which we’re seeing thus far.

    In the same vein, Davey today when asked of his personal concern level after his 2019 heart issues: “I’ll be honest with you, I’m scared. I really am.”

    I would really love to see this work, as I’ve enjoyed having baseball the last few days. But MLB has had a month to get its act together, and it is still dangerously not together at all.


    27 Jul 20 at 2:49 pm

  12. Now four more Marlins . . .


    28 Jul 20 at 10:50 am

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