13 amazing facts from an unforgettable Opening Day
By Paul Casella
Baseball season is finally back -- and with it resumes a neverending supply of stats and milestones.
The first 24 hours alone of the 2015 season had already produced multiple events that had never before happened in the history of Opening Day, as well as a number of other rare accomplishments.
Let's take a look at 13 of the craziest stats stemming from Sunday night's season opener and Monday's full slate of Opening Day action.
• The Cardinals kicked off the regular season with a 3-0 victory over the Cubs on Sunday night. Cards starter Adam Wainwright and a trio of relievers combined for a dozen strikeouts in the effort, marking the second straight season in which St. Louis shut out its opponent while tallying 12 or more strikeouts on Opening Day. No other team has recorded even one 12-strikeout Opening Day shutout since 2008.
• In tossing six scoreless frames Sunday night, Wainwright also became just the seventh active pitcher with multiple scoreless Opening Day outings of at least six innings, joining Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Jered Weaver, Jeff Samardzija, Mark Buehrle and Jake Peavy. The first four in that group -- Kershaw, Hernandez, Weaver and Samardzija -- all came up short in their bid for a third such Opening Day start on Monday.
• As for Monday's action, a pair of aces -- and former teammates -- each accomplished something that no other starting pitcher had ever done before on Opening Day. Tigers ace David Price became the first starter ever to toss exactly 8 2/3 scoreless innings on Opening Day without finishing the complete game, while Max Scherzer became the first starter ever to take an Opening Day loss despite not allowing a single earned run and striking out at least eight batters. Scherzer conceded three runs, all unearned, off just four hits while striking out eight over 7 2/3 innings in a 3-1 loss to the Mets in his Nats debut.
• As for Scherzer's counterpart in that game, Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon -- at 41 years and 317 days old -- became the oldest pitcher to win an Opening Day start since Randy Johnson (42 years, 205 days) in 2006. Colon is the ninth oldest pitcher to do so overall.
• Continuing with the firsts, right-hander Kyle Kendrick had a spectacular Rockies debut. While marquee pitchers such as Jon Lester, James Shields, Samardzija and Scherzer all made their club debuts in the season opener, it was Kendrick who stole the show. The Rockies righty not only tossed seven shutout innings against the Brewers, but also went 2-for-3 with a double at the plate, making him the first pitcher to toss at least seven scoreless innings and notch at least two hits at the plate on Opening Day since St. Louis' Todd Stottlemyre in 1998.
• Kendrick's all-around contributions helped lead the Rockies to a 10-0 victory over the Brewers, marking the largest Opening Day shutout since 1988 when, strangely enough, the Brewers notched a 12-0 season-opening victory over the Orioles. The 10-0 final is tied for the fourth-largest Opening Day shutout overall.
• While the Rockies' shutout was the largest in Opening Day action this year, it was far from the only one. In fact, five other teams -- the Cardinals, Tigers, Red Sox, Astros and A's -- also spun season-opening shutouts, setting the record with six total Opening Day shutouts for a single season.
• Reigning American League MVP Mike Trout began his 2015 season the same exact way he started the 2014 campaign, homering off Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in his first at-bat for the second straight year.
• Unfortunately for Trout, he followed up Monday's homer by striking out in each of his three remaining at-bats. Orioles outfielder Alejandro De Aza also notched one homer and three strikeouts in Baltimore's 6-2 victory over the Rays. So what makes those two stat lines so remarkable? Only seven players had ever homered while still striking out three or more times in a non-extra innings Opening Day game prior to Trout and De Aza both doing so on Monday.
• Speaking of strikeouts, Hernandez notched 10 of them while holding the Angels to only two hits in a 4-1 victory. In doing so, King Felix became just the eighth pitcher all-time -- and first since Justin Masterson in 2012 -- to rack up double-digit strikeouts while allowing two hits or fewer in an Opening Day start.
• The Red Sox put on a power show in Monday's 8-0 win over the Phillies, highlighted by multi-homer efforts from both Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia. Ramirez and Pedroia are the first set of Red Sox teammates -- and just the seventh in Major League history overall -- with multi-homer games on Opening Day. The Red Sox finished with five homers overall, more than they had in any game all of last season. The five homers were their most since Sept. 4, 2013.
• Shortstop Jimmy Rollins hit a crucial go-ahead, three-run home run to help lead the Dodgers to a 6-3 win in his club debut. It was the fourth career Opening Day homer for Rollins, making him the only player since at least 1900 to hit at least four Opening Day homers as a shortstop. Rollins began his career 0-for-17 in Opening Day games from 2000-04 before going 17-for-47 (.362) with four homers and 12 RBIs in 11 season-opening games since.
• Literally just minutes after Rollins snapped a tie with his three-run blast, Reds third baseman Todd Frazier hit a tiebreaking three-run homer of his own in Cincinnati's 5-2 win over the Pirates. The last time there were multiple tiebreaking three-run homers hit in the eighth inning or later on the same day -- let alone minutes apart -- was Aug. 7, 2013.
Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.