List of Texas Rangers Opening Day starting pitchers

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Nolan Ryan, the Opening Day starting pitcher in 1990, 1991 and 1992.

The Texas Rangers are a Major League Baseball (MLB) team based in Arlington, Texas. They play in the American League West division. The Rangers played their first 11 seasons, from 1961 to 1971, as the Washington Senators, one of three different major league teams to use the name.[1] In Washington, D.C., the Senators played their home games at Griffith Stadium for their inaugural season before moving to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium the following season. The team moved to Texas in 1972, and played their home games at Arlington Stadium until 1993. The team's current home, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, has been the Rangers' home field since the start of the 1994 season.[2] 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,[3] though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day.[4]

The Senators/Rangers have used 29 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 51 seasons. The 29 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 18 wins, 25 losses and 8 no decisions. No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game or if the starting pitcher pitches fewer than five innings. Of the 7 no decisions, the Rangers went on to win five and lose three of those games, for a team record on Opening Day of 23 wins and 28 losses.[5]

Three Texas Rangers Opening Day pitchers—Ferguson Jenkins, Gaylord Perry and Nolan Ryan—have been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.[6][7][8]

The Senators' first Opening Day starting pitcher was Dick Donovan, who was credited with the loss against the Chicago White Sox in the game played at Griffith Stadium with President John F. Kennedy throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.[9][10][11] Though the Senators ended the 1961 with a 61–100 record, 47½ games out of first place, Donovan ended the season leading the American League with a 2.40 ERA.[12][13]

In 1962, the team moved to District of Columbia Stadium (renamed Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in 1969), with Bennie Daniels on the mound for Opening Day. President Kennedy attended the Opening Day game, as the Senators defeated the Detroit Tigers by a score of 4–1.[14] The Senators, and their starting pitchers, lost their next eight Opening Day games.[5] Dick Bosman started on Opening Day for the Senators in 1971, their last season in Washington, D.C., and led the Senators to an 8–0 victory over Vida Blue and the Oakland Athletics.[15]

The Rangers advanced to the playoffs in 1996, 1998 and 1999.[16] In each of those three seasons the Rangers faced the New York Yankees in the Divisional Series and lost. In 1996, Ken Hill was the Opening Day starter in a 5–3 win over the Boston Red Sox. In the 1996 American League Division Series, John Burkett started and won the opening game of the series by a 6–2 score, the only game the Rangers won in the series.[17] Burkett was the Opening Day starter in 1998, in a game the Rangers lost 9–2 to the Chicago White Sox. In the 1998 American League Division Series, Todd Stottlemyre started and lost the first game of the series, which the Yankees swept in three games.[18] Rick Helling was the Opening Day starter in 1999, losing 11–5 to the Detroit Tigers. In the 1999 American League Division Series, Aaron Sele was the starter in the opening game of the series, with the Rangers again swept by the Yankees.[19]

Kevin Millwood has pitched four consecutive Opening Day starts, in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Two other Rangers pitchers have pitched three consecutive Opening Day starts: Charlie Hough in 1987, 1988 and 1989 and Nolan Ryan in 1990, 1991 and 1992.[20][21]

Charlie Hough has the most Opening Day starts for the Rangers, with six, and has a record of three wins and one loss. Ken Hill and Kenny Rogers both won both of their decisions, for a perfect 2–0 record. Six other pitchers won their only decision. Colby Lewis had a win and a loss each in his two Opening Day starts. Kevin Millwood and Dick Bosman each lost three of their four Opening Day starts for the Rangers. Pete Richert, Camilo Pascual and Rick Helling each lost both of their starts. Nine pitchers have lost their only start.[5]


Key[edit]

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the team's home stadium since 1994.
Season Each year is linked to an article about that particular Senators/Rangers season.
W Win
L Loss
ND (W) No decision by starting pitcher; Rangers won game
ND (L) No decision by starting pitcher; Rangers lost game
Final Score (#) Game score with Rangers runs listed first;
in brackets are the number of innings over than 9
Location Stadium in bold for home game
Pitcher (#) Number of appearances as Opening Day starter with the Rangers
* Advanced to the post-season
** Won the American League Championship Series

Opening Day results[edit]

Season Pitcher Decision Final
score
Opponent Location Attendance Ref(s)[5]
1961 Dick Donovan L 3–4 Chicago White Sox Griffith Stadium 26,725 [22]
1962 Bennie Daniels W 4–1 Detroit Tigers District of Columbia Stadium 44,383 [23]
1963 Don Rudolph L 1–3 Baltimore Orioles District of Columbia Stadium 43,022 [24]
1964 Claude Osteen L 0–4 Los Angeles Angels District of Columbia Stadium 40,145 [25]
1965 Phil Ortega L 2–7 Boston Red Sox District of Columbia Stadium 43,554 [26]
1966 Pete Richert L 2–5 Cleveland Indians District of Columbia Stadium 44,468 [27]
1967 Pete Richert (2) L 0–8 New York Yankees District of Columbia Stadium 44,382 [28]
1968 Camilo Pascual L 0–2 Minnesota Twins District of Columbia Stadium 32,063 [29]
1969 Camilo Pascual (2) L 4–8 New York Yankees Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium 45,113 [30]
1970 Dick Bosman L 0–5 Detroit Tigers Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium 45,015 [31]
1971 Dick Bosman (2) W 8–0 Oakland Athletics Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium 45,061 [15]
1972 Dick Bosman (3) L 0–1 California Angels Anaheim Stadium 13,916 [32]
1973 Dick Bosman (4) L 1–3 Chicago White Sox Arlington Stadium 26,543 [33]
1974 Jim Bibby L 2–7 Oakland Athletics Arlington Stadium 21,907 [34]
1975 Ferguson Jenkins L 4–11 Minnesota Twins Arlington Stadium 28,787 [35]
1976 Gaylord Perry W 2–1 Minnesota Twins Arlington Stadium 28,947 [36]
1977 Bert Blyleven W 2–1 Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium 31,307 [37]
1978 Jon Matlack W 2–1 New York Yankees Arlington Stadium 40,078 [38]
1979 Ferguson Jenkins (2) W 8–2 Detroit Tigers Tiger Stadium 43,708 [39]
1980 Jon Matlack (2) ND (W) 1–0 New York Yankees Arlington Stadium 33,196 [40]
1981 Jon Matlack (3) L 3–10 New York Yankees Yankee Stadium 55,123 [41]
1982 Charlie Hough W 8–3 Cleveland Indians Cleveland Stadium 62,443 [42]
1983 Mike Smithson ND (W) 5–3 Chicago White Sox Arlington Stadium 13,140 [43]
1984 Charlie Hough (2) L 1–9 Cleveland Indians Arlington Stadium 21,537 [44]
1985 Charlie Hough (3) ND (L) 2–4 Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium 50,402 [45]
1986 José Guzmán W 6–3 Toronto Blue Jays Arlington Stadium 40,602 [46]
1987 Charlie Hough (4) ND (L) 1–2 Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium 51,650 [47]
1988 Charlie Hough (5) W 4–3 Cleveland Indians Arlington Stadium 37,613 [48]
1989 Charlie Hough (6) W 4–0 Detroit Tigers Arlington Stadium 40,375 [49]
1990 Nolan Ryan W 4–2 Toronto Blue Jays Arlington Stadium 40,907 [50]
1991 Nolan Ryan (2) L 4–5 Milwaukee Brewers Arlington Stadium 40,560 [51]
1992 Nolan Ryan (3) ND (W) 12–10 Seattle Mariners Kingdome 55,918 [52]
1993 Craig Lefferts W 7–4 Baltimore Orioles Oriole Park at Camden Yards 46,145 [53]
1994 Kevin Brown L 3–5 New York Yankees Yankee Stadium 56,706 [54]
1995 Kenny Rogers L 6–8 New York Yankees Yankee Stadium 50,525 [55]
1996* Ken Hill W 5–3 Boston Red Sox The Ballpark in Arlington 40,484 [56]
1997 Ken Hill (2) W 6–2 Milwaukee Brewers The Ballpark in Arlington 45,098 [57]
1998* John Burkett L 2–9 Chicago White Sox The Ballpark in Arlington 45,909 [58]
1999* Rick Helling L 5–11 Detroit Tigers The Ballpark in Arlington 46,650 [59]
2000 Kenny Rogers (2) W 10–4 Chicago White Sox The Ballpark in Arlington 49,332 [60]
2001 Rick Helling (2) L 1–8 Toronto Blue Jays Hiram Bithorn Stadium 19,891 [61]
2002 Chan Ho Park L 3–8 Oakland Athletics Network Associates Coliseum 43,908 [62]
2003 Ismael Valdez W 6–3 Anaheim Angels Angel Stadium of Anaheim 43,525 [63]
2004 Kenny Rogers (3) ND (L) 4–5 Oakland Athletics Network Associates Coliseum 45,122 [64]
2005 Ryan Drese L 2–3 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Angel Stadium of Anaheim 43,590 [65]
2006 Kevin Millwood L 3–7 Boston Red Sox Ameriquest Field in Arlington 51,541 [66]
2007 Kevin Millwood (2) L 1–4 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Angel Stadium of Anaheim 43,906 [67]
2008 Kevin Millwood (3) L 2–5 Seattle Mariners Safeco Field 46,334 [20][68]
2009 Kevin Millwood (4) W 9–1 Cleveland Indians Rangers Ballpark in Arlington 49,916 [21]
2010** Scott Feldman ND (W) 5–4 Toronto Blue Jays Rangers Ballpark in Arlington 50,299 [69]
2011** C. J. Wilson ND (W) 9–5 Boston Red Sox Rangers Ballpark in Arlington 50,146 [70]
2012* Colby Lewis W 3–2 Chicago White Sox Rangers Ballpark in Arlington 49,085 [71]
2013 Matt Harrison L 2–8 Houston Astros Minute Maid Park 41,307 [72]
2014 Tanner Scheppers ND (L) 10–14 Philadelphia Phillies Globe Life Park in Arlington 49,031 [73]
2015* Yovani Gallardo L 0–8 Oakland Athletics O.co Coliseum 36,067
2016* Cole Hamels W 3–2 Seattle Mariners Globe Life Park in Arlington 49,289
2017 Yu Darvish ND (L) 5-8 Cleveland Indians Globe Life Park in Arlington 48,350
2018 Cole Hamels (2) L 1-4 Houston Astros Globe Life Park in Arlington 47,253

Pitchers[edit]

Opening Day starting pitchers are listed in descending order by the number of Opening Day starts for the Senators/Rangers.

Pitcher Starts Wins Losses No decisions Winning % Seasons
Charlie Hough 6 3 1 2 0.750 1982,[42] 1984,[44] 1985,[45] 1987,[47] 1988,[48] 1989[49]
Dick Bosman 4 1 3 0 0.250 1970,[31] 1971,[15] 1972,[32] 1973[33]
Kevin Millwood 4 1 3 0 0.250 2006,[66] 2007,[67] 2008[21][68]
Jon Matlack 3 1 1 1 0.500 1978,[38] 1980,[40] 1981[41]
Nolan Ryan 3 1 1 1 0.500 1990,[50] 1991,[51] 1992[52]
Kenny Rogers 3 2 0 1 1.000 1995,[55] 2000,[60] 2004[64]
Pete Richert 2 0 2 0 0.000 1966,[27] 1967[28]
Camilo Pascual 2 0 2 0 0.000 1968,[29] 1969[30]
Cole Hamels 2 1 1 0 0.500 2016, 2018
Ferguson Jenkins 2 1 1 0 0.500 1975,[35] 1979[39]
Ken Hill 2 2 0 0 1.000 1996,[56] 1997[57]
Rick Helling 2 0 2 0 0.000 1999,[59] 2001[61]
Dick Donovan 1 0 1 0 0.000 1961[22]
Bennie Daniels 1 1 0 0 1.000 1962[23]
Don Rudolph 1 0 1 0 0.000 1963[24]
Claude Osteen 1 1 0 0 1.000 1964[25]
Phil Ortega 1 0 1 0 0.000 1965[26]
Jim Bibby 1 0 1 0 0.000 1974[34]
Gaylord Perry 1 0 1 0 0.000 1976[36]
Bert Blyleven 1 1 0 0 1.000 1977[37]
Mike Smithson 1 0 0 1 0.000 1983[43]
C. J. Wilson 1 0 0 1 0.000 2011[70]
Scott Feldman 1 0 0 1 0.000 2010[69]
José Guzmán 1 1 0 0 1.000 1986[46]
Craig Lefferts 1 1 0 0 1.000 1993[53]
Kevin Brown 1 0 1 0 0.000 1994[54]
John Burkett 1 0 1 0 0.000 1997[57]
Chan Ho Park 1 0 1 0 0.000 2002[62]
Ismael Valdez 1 1 0 0 1.000 2003[63]
Ryan Drese 1 0 1 0 0.000 2005[65]
Colby Lewis 1 1 0 0 1.000 2012[71]
Matt Harrison 1 0 1 0 0.000 2013[72]
Tanner Scheppers 1 0 0 1 0.000 2014[73]
Yovani Gallardo 1 0 1 0 0.000 2015
Yu Darvish 1 0 0 1 0.000 2017

References[edit]

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