An Orioles Opening Day Retrospective

Ronald Martinez

In honor of Opening Day 2013 (part III), we look back at how the O's have done on Opening Day since 1994.

Hello and welcome to the 2013 season! Technically it started on Sunday night, but for us the real season begins today vs. the Rays. To celebrate, we look back to 1994 to see how the O's have done and whether we can learn anything.

Here's the data:

Year Starting Pitcher Opponent Result Run Differential Home/Away
1994 Mussina Royals W 3 Home
1995 Mussina Royals L -4 Away
1996 Mussina Royals W 2 Home
1997 Key Royals W 2 Home
1998 Mussina Royals L -3 Home
1999 Mussina Rays W 3 Home
2000 Mussina Rays L -3 Home
2001 Hentgen Red Sox W 1 Home
2002 Erickson Yankees W 7 Home
2003 Lopez Indians W 1 Home
2004 Ponson Red Sox W 5 Home
2005 Lopez A's W 4 Home
2006 Lopez Rays W 3 Home
2007 Bedard Twins L -3 Away
2008 Guthrie Rays L -4 Home
2009 Guthrie Yankees W 5 Home
2010 Millwood Rays L -1 Away
2011 Guthrie Rays W 3 Away
2012 Arrieta Twins W 2 Home

At 13-6, we can be proud of our Opening Day record, even if it hasn't translated to winning seasons. We've beaten the Yankees both times we've played them, and we had a nice winning streak from 2001 - 2006. We can also see that the O's have opened their season at home the majority (79%) of the time. My theory is that MLB wants to showcase Oriole Park at Camden Yards as one of the premier parks in the sport, but that's just a guess. I can't detect a pattern or anything. Anyone have any other theories? For what it's worth, this year we open on the road in Tampa Bay (well, technically St. Petersburg).

As for Opening Day starters -- well, you can see how many Opening Day starts Mike Mussina made for us. He started six out of seven possible Opening Days. (The start he missed in 1997 was due to elbow tendinitis.) We won three of his games and lost three.

The O's failure to find consistent starting pitching is reflected in the names you see after he left the team. Names like Sidney Ponson, Rodrigo Lopez, and Kevin Millwood reach out ghostly appendages to tap us on the shoulder.

The Rays have been our most frequent opponent, with six games against (seven if you count this year). Mussina and Guthrie each started twice against them, although Mussina faced the Rays when they were the Devil Rays (and were terrible). Prior to the Rays, we'd played the Royals the most often, but those days are likely over with the stronger focus on intra-division records and rivalries.

In the run differential department, we've run the gamut from a seven-run victory over the Yankees to a pair of four-run losses (Royals, Rays). Overall we have a +23 run differential, averaging just over one run per game more than our opposition.

I'll close with a thought: this offseason felt particularly frustrating as an O's fan. We did so well last year, came so close to dispatching the Yankees, and were written off so many times this offseason that I felt like I've had a "something to prove" chip on my shoulder for weeks now. Waiting has indeed been the hardest part. Let's start playing and see what happens!

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