Pittsburgh Pirates: A look back at the last 5 Opening Day Starters
The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced who their Opening Day starter will be. So what pitchers have been 5 opening day starters over the last few years?
Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Pirates and manager Clint Hurdle announced their current plan for the rotation to start the season. With that, he listed right-handed pitcher Jameson Taillon as the Pittsburgh Pirates opening day starter. He will open the season on the road at Great American Ball Park against the new look Cincinnati Reds.
After that, it was made apparent that 2018 trade deadline pick up Chris Archer would have the four spot in the rotation. This makes sense as the former Ray will be the Pittsburgh Pirates home opener. Archer will face off against the St. Louis Cardinals. In between the two are Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove.
This will mark the fourth year in a row that the Pittsburgh Pirates will have a different starting pitcher open the season. This is very interesting to see how much changes year in and year out for the team. This got us to thinking about the last few opening day starters. So who was the Pittsburgh Pirates last five opening day starters?
If one goes back to just last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates faced off against the Detroit Tigers. The team traveled to Detroit for the start of the season. Now former Pittsburgh Pirates and current Chicago White Sox Ivan Nova got the opening day start for the Bucs. However, the game was postponed due to weather so he had to wait an extra day to start.
For the start of the 2017 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates opened up on the road once again to take on the Boston Red Sox. At the time the Pittsburgh Pirates had another former number one pick slotted in for the opening day start in Gerrit Cole. Cole has since been traded to the Houston Astros.
Before those two recent years, the Pittsburgh Pirates actually had a string of three consecutive opening day starts by the same pitcher. It was a pitcher who was a big-time lefty starter for many of the team’s playoff years and is now back with the team. Francisco Liriano plugged in as the opening day starter in 2016, 2015, and 2014. The lefty had a very good run here before a disastrous 2016 season that led to him being traded away. He now is back on a minor league deal and could be utilized as the team’s fifth starter or as a lefty out of the bullpen.
So that has been the Pittsburgh Pirates last 5 opening day starters (actually 6). It has unfortunately not been very consistent since Liriano. However, that was to be expected with a few retooling years. Hopefully, the Pittsburgh Pirates will see Taillon as the opening day starter for many years to come.