Colorado shortstop first player to homer twice in debut on Opening Day
By Roger Schlueter
Special to MLB.com |
Here are six interesting items from around the big leagues on Opening Day …
• In Phoenix, Trevor Story's Major League debut and the Rockies' 2016 debut coincided to author some MLB history. With long balls in the third and fourth innings (he grounded out in his first big league plate appearance in the first), Story became the first player to homer twice in an Opening Day Major League debut, and the fist National League player to drill a pair of homers in his big league debut. The previous players to homer twice in their first Major League game: Charlie Reilly for Columbus (American Association) on Oct. 9, 1889 (the team's 135th game); Bob Nieman for the Browns on Sept. 14, 1951 (the team's 138th game); Bert Campaneris for the Athletics on July 23, 1964 (the team's 96th game); Mark Quinn for the Royals on Sept. 14, 1999 (the team's 145th game); J.P. Arencibia for the Blue Jays on Aug. 7, 2010 (the team's 110th game).
• Behind Clayton Kershaw's seven innings of one-hit ball and the offense's nine innings of 17-hit production, the Dodgers cruised to a 15-0 victory over the Padres. The 15 runs were the most for a team in a shutout win on Opening Day, surpassing the 14 for Pittsburgh against Cincinnati in 1911. Kershaw has made six Opening Day starts and owns a 0.93 ERA and a 10.37 K/9 rate in them. In the live-ball era, he is one of 21 pitchers to have at least six Opening Day starts in his 20s. Among the 21, Kershaw owns the lowest ERA (ahead of Bob Feller's 1.08) and the highest K/9 (ahead of Felix Hernandez's 9.26).
• Three consecutive home runs in the eighth inning capped a potent offensive day for the Giants, as they opened the season with a 12-3 victory over the Brewers. The 12 runs represented the second-highest Opening Day total for the Giants since moving to San Francisco for the 1958 season. In '83, they dropped a 16-13 game to the Padres. The four homers in this opener tied for the second most for a San Francisco team on Opening Day, with the '64 club belting five, and the '63 and '83 teams each hitting four. The Giants' three consecutive home runs in the eighth by Denard Span, Joe Panik and Buster Posey marked the first time since '97 (the Padres, with Chris Gomez, Rickey Henderson and Quilvio Veras) a team had popped three straight on Opening Day. Span also became the first leadoff hitter to have five RBIs on an Opening Day since Dain Clay, who drove in five for the Reds in a 7-6 victory in '45.
• The Rangers' offense had just one hit -- an RBI single by Prince Fielder -- but defeated Hernandez and the Mariners, 3-2. Previously, Texas had managed just one win in franchise history when generating only a single hit: on July 27, 1993, the Rangers were held by Kevin Appier to one knock -- a Rafael Palmeiro long ball -- but defeated the Royals, 1-0. Before 2016, no team in the live-ball era had won an Opening Day game after producing one hit.
• The Mariners lost for the first time when handing the ball to Hernandez for Opening Day. King Felix, who had helped his team to wins in 2007 and the openers from '09-15, owns a 1.49 ERA in his nine Opening Day assignments, and has allowed 4.22 hits per nine innings. There are 24 pitchers in the live-ball era who have made at least nine Opening Day starts. Among those two dozen, Hernandez owns the lowest ERA (ahead of Juan Marichal's 1.73) and the lowest hits per nine (ahead of Don Sutton's 6.51)
• Bryce Harper -- beginning his fifth Major League campaign -- connected for his fourth career Opening Day home run and helped the Nationals to a 4-3 victory over the Braves. Harper is halfway to the Major League record for Opening Day long balls, a mark shared by Frank Robinson, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Adam Dunn. Robinson's fourth came in his 11th Major League season; Griffey's in his ninth; and Dunn's in his seventh.
Roger Schlueter is a statistical researcher and writes for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.