Nationals Arm Race

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

Opening Day Starting Pitchers Trivia for 2024


Grey gets the opening day nod for the Nats in 2024. Photo via WP

I have somewhat of an obsession with Opening Day Starters, and have tracked them on a spreadsheet for, well, for a long time. 20 plus years. I also love Opening Day Starter Trivia, which we’ll cover here in a moment.

Now that the 2024 Opening Day is past us, and I’ve updated the XLS for this year’s starters and done some housecleaning of now-retired starters, here’s some useless Opening day starter trivia for you.

My Opening Day Starter XLS is uploaded here to Google Sheets. It is also worth noting that Baseball Reference of course maintains similar information. Here for example is the canonical opening day list of lineups (pitchers and players) for the Washington Nationals franchise. And here’s the list of all 30 teams’ opening day lineups for the 2024 season, with similar data for all past seasons). I can’t quite find a similar resource to just the starters across all 30 teams, but I’m sure it’s there somewhere.

Ok, that being said, here’s some useless trivia related to Opening Day Starters:

  • First time Opening Day Starters for 2024: 14 of the 30, including our own Josiah Grey who takes over for Corbin, who had done the past couple. This number is down from last year’s 9 first timers, which was the lowest I had on record going back a decade. This number was artificially inflated a bit over what was expected due to spring training injuries to presumed opening day starters for teams like Aaron Nola, Gerrit Cole, and Sandy Alcantara.
  • Current active Leader of Opening Day Starts: Justin Verlander, with 12. He did 9 in Detroit, then another 3 in Houston. Others in the conversation are Kershaw (9), Scherzer (7), Julio Teheran (6), and Nola with 6 (see next)
  • Current Active Consecutive streak: Bieber in Cleveland with 5 consecutive opening day starts. Nola was the previous holder at 6 straight.
  • Current Leader of Consecutive Opening Day Starts: both Verlander and Kershaw at one point made 7 straight opening day starts for their teams, and are the current leaders in that category.

Historical records:

  • Most Opening Day Starts in History: Tom Seaver (16).  Tied for 2nd place with 14 is Jack Morris, Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, Walter Johnson
  • Most Consecutive Opening Day Starts in History Jack Morris; all 14 of his starts were in a row, Mr. Durability.

Lastly, here’s some interesting team observations

  • Washington went a decade with just two different pitchers (Scherzer or Strasburg) doing the duty.
  • Texas, your defending WS champs: 8 different opening day starters in the last 8 years. And it’s even crazier than that: They’ve had 15 different opening day starters in the last 16 seasons, dating to 2009! Only one guy has repeated: Cole Hamels in 2016 and 2018. That’s amazing, that Texas basically hasn’t had a long-term Ace on their staff for nearly 2 decades.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers, despite being probably the league’s best team over the past decade or so, has had 6 different guys make their last 6 opening day starts, them the least consistent of any team. Interesting.
  • Other teams who have not really been able to find a consistent starter: Cincinnati: 5 straight different opening day starters. NY Mets: 4 straight different opening day starters. Baltimore: 8 different starters in the last 9 years. Tampa: 6 new in last 7 years. Angels: 7 new in last 8 years.

Written by Todd Boss

March 29th, 2024 at 2:37 pm

Posted in Majors Pitching

3 Responses to 'Opening Day Starting Pitchers Trivia for 2024'

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  1. The Nats’ opening day starter in 2025 will be . . .

    . . . either Gore or (preferably) a big free agent signee. They’re going to have to sign one, maybe two. We need to find out this season who’s worthy and who isn’t among Gore, Gray, Irvin, and Cavalli. I really don’t have much faith on other internal starters on the near horizon. My only question is whether they need to sign one, or two. There are quite a number of name guys to choose from:

    Who is on your wish list? Quite a number are Boras clients, so that saga may continue, unless ol’ Scott completely revamps his approach. And the Dodgers have made deferred money hip now, right?


    29 Mar 24 at 8:40 pm

  2. Looking through the rosters announced today, I’m not seeing a few of the names that I expected.

    Has anyone heard about injuries to Luckham, De La Rosa, Mota or Cruz? Otherwise, XST seems like an odd assignment except for maybe Mota.


    1 Apr 24 at 4:06 pm

  3. New posting on the 4 full season rosters soon.

    Todd Boss

    2 Apr 24 at 3:21 pm

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