List of Kansas City Royals Opening Day starting pitchers

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Gil Meche was the Kansas City Royals' Opening Day starting pitcher in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The Kansas City Royals are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Kansas City, Missouri. They play in the American League Central division. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season,[1] though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day.[2] The Kansas City Royals have used 20 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 43 seasons. The 20 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 11 wins, 19 losses and 13 no decisions.[3] No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game.

The Kansas City Royals began to play in 1969. Wally Bunker was the Royals’ first Opening Day starting pitcher on April 18, 1969 against the Minnesota Twins.[4] The Royals have played in two home ball parks. They played in Municipal Stadium from 1969 through 1972. They played three Opening Day games at Municipal Stadium, winning twice and losing once. The Royals’ starting pitchers received no decisions in both of the wins, leaving their record in Opening Day starts at Municipal Stadium no wins, one loss and two no decisions. They moved to Royals Stadium, which was subsequently renamed Kauffman Stadium, 1973.[5] They have played 19 Opening Day games there, and their starting pitchers have seven wins and eight losses with four no decisions. This makes their record at home in Opening Day games seven wins and nine losses with six no decisions. In Opening Day games on the road, their starting pitchers have a record of four wins and ten losses with seven no decisions.[3][6]

Kevin Appier has most Opening Day starts for the Royals, with seven, including six in a row from 1992 to 1997.[3] He has a record of 1–4 with two no decisions in those starts. The other Royal pitchers who have made at least three Opening Day starts are Dennis Leonard with four, and Paul Splittorff, Bud Black, Bret Saberhagen, Jeff Suppan and Gil Meche with three apiece.[3] Bunker, Dick Drago, Steve Busby and Larry Gura have each made two Opening Day starts for the Royals.[3]

Black, who has two wins as an Opening Day starting pitcher, is the only Royals pitcher who has won more than one Opening Day start. Black had a record in Opening Day starts of 2–1.[3] Only two Royals pitchers had more than one loss in Opening Day starts, Kevin Appier with four losses and Dennis Leonard with three.[3]

The Royals played in the World Series in 1980 and 1985, winning in 1985.[7] Leonard and Black were the Opening Day starting pitchers in 1980 and 1985, respectively, when the Royals played in the World Series, and they had a combined Opening Day record of 1–1.[3]

Key[edit]

Kauffman Stadium, originally named Royals Stadium, has been the Royals' home ball park since 1973.
Season Each year is linked to an article about that particular Royals season.
W Win
L Loss
ND (W) No decision by starting pitcher; Royals won game
ND (L) No decision by starting pitcher; Royals lost game
Final
Score
Game score with Royals runs listed first
Location Stadium in italics for home game
Pitcher (#) Number of appearances as Opening Day starter with the Royals
* Advanced to the post-season
** AL Champions
World Series Champions

Pitchers[edit]

Zack Greinke was the Royals' Opening Day stering pitcher in 2010.
José Lima (shown here with the Los Angeles Dodgers) was the Royals' Opening Day starting pitcher in 2005.
Bud Black (shown here with the San Diego Padres) was the Royals' Opening Day starting pitcher three times during the 1980s.
Season Pitcher Decision Final
score
Opponent Location Ref(s)
1969 Bunker, WallyWally Bunker ND (W) 4–3 Minnesota Twins Municipal Stadium [4]
1970 Bunker, WallyWally Bunker (2) L 4–6 Oakland Athletics Municipal Stadium [8]
1971 Drago, DickDick Drago W 4–1 California Angels Anaheim Stadium [9]
1972 Drago, DickDick Drago (2) ND (W) 2–1 Chicago White Sox Municipal Stadium [10]
1973 Busby, SteveSteve Busby L 2–3 California Angels Anaheim Stadium [11]
1974 Splittorff, PaulPaul Splittorff ND (L) 4–6 Minnesota Twins Royals Stadium [12]
1975 Busby, SteveSteve Busby (2) ND (L) 2–3 California Angels Anaheim Stadium [13]
1976* Splittorff, PaulPaul Splittorff (2) L 0–4 Chicago White Sox Comiskey Park [14]
1977* Splittorff, PaulPaul Splittorff (3) W 7–4 Detroit Tigers Tiger Stadium [15]
1978* Leonard, DennisDennis Leonard L 5–8 Cleveland Indians Cleveland Stadium [16]
1979 Leonard, DennisDennis Leonard (2) W 11–2 Toronto Blue Jays Royals Stadium [17]
1980** Leonard, DennisDennis Leonard (3) L 1–5 Detroit Tigers Royals Stadium [18]
1981* Gura, LarryLarry Gura L 3–5 Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium [19]
1982 Leonard, DennisDennis Leonard (4) L 5–13 Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium [20]
1983 Gura, LarryLarry Gura (2) W 7–2 Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium [21]
1984* Black, BudBud Black W 4–2 New York Yankees Royals Stadium [22]
1985 Black, BudBud Black (2) W 2–1 Toronto Blue Jays Royals Stadium [23]
1986 Black, BudBud Black (3) L 2–4 New York Yankees Yankee Stadium [24]
1987 Jackson, DannyDanny Jackson L 4–5 Chicago White Sox Royals Stadium [25]
1988 Saberhagen, BretBret Saberhagen L 3–5 Toronto Blue Jays Royals Stadium [26]
1989 Gubicza, MarkMark Gubicza L 3–4 Toronto Blue Jays Royals Stadium [27]
1990 Saberhagen, BretBret Saberhagen (2) ND (L) 6–7 Baltimore Orioles Royals Stadium [28]
1991 Saberhagen, BretBret Saberhagen (3) W 4–2 Cleveland Indians Royals Stadium [29]
1992 Appier, KevinKevin Appier ND (L) 3–5 Oakland Athletics Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum [30]
1993 Appier, KevinKevin Appier (2) L 1–3 Boston Red Sox Royals Stadium [31]
1994 Appier, KevinKevin Appier (3) L 3–6 Baltimore Orioles Camden Yards [32]
1995 Appier, KevinKevin Appier (4) W 5–1 Baltimore Orioles Kauffman Stadium [33]
1996 Appier, KevinKevin Appier (5) L 2–5 Baltimore Orioles Camden Yards [34]
1997 Appier, KevinKevin Appier (6) ND (L) 2–4 Baltimore Orioles Camden Yards [35]
1998 Belcher, TimTim Belcher W 4–1 Baltimore Orioles Camden Yards [36]
1999 Appier, KevinKevin Appier (7) L 3–5 Boston Red Sox Kauffman Stadium [37]
2000 Suppan, JeffJeff Suppan ND (L) 4–5 Toronto Blue Jays SkyDome [38]
2001 Suppan, JeffJeff Suppan (2) L 3–7 New York Yankees Yankee Stadium [39][40]
2002 Suppan, JeffJeff Suppan (3) ND (L) 6–8 Minnesota Twins Kauffman Stadium [41][42]
2003 Hernández, RunelvysRunelvys Hernández W 3–0 Chicago White Sox Kauffman Stadium [43][44]
2004 Anderson, BrianBrian Anderson ND (W) 9–7 Chicago White Sox Kauffman Stadium [45][46]
2005 Lima, JoséJosé Lima L 2–11 Detroit Tigers Comerica Park [47][48]
2006 Elarton, ScottScott Elarton L 1–3 Detroit Tigers Kauffman Stadium [49][50]
2007 Meche, GilGil Meche W 7–1 Boston Red Sox Kauffman Stadium [51][52]
2008 Meche, GilGil Meche (2) ND (W) 5–4 Detroit Tigers Comerica Park [53][54]
2009 Meche, GilGil Meche (3) ND (L) 2–4 Chicago White Sox U.S. Cellular Field [55]
2010 Greinke, ZackZack Greinke ND (L) 4–8 Detroit Tigers Kauffman Stadium [6]
2011 Hochevar, LukeLuke Hochevar L 2–4 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Kauffman Stadium [56]
2012 Chen, BruceBruce Chen L 0–5 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Angel Stadium of Anaheim [57]
2013 Shields, JamesJames Shields L 0–1 Chicago White Sox U.S. Cellular Field [57]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Dilbeck, Steve (February 24, 2014). "Dodgers may not start Clayton Kershaw in Sydney". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
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