Astute readers may recall that prior to last year’s Opening Day I took a look back at the Yankees’ Opening Day results going back to 1990, and in honor of 2011 Opening Day, I’ve decided to update that table, and also include the WPAs for each team’s starting pitchers. To wit:
|Opening Day||Opponent||Outcome||NYY Starter||WPA||Opp Starter||WPA|
|Sun 4/4/10||@ BOS||L, 9-7||CC Sabathia||-0.200||Josh Beckett||-0.260|
|Mon 4/6/09||@ BAL||L, 10-5||CC Sabathia (L)||-0.306||Jeremy Guthrie (W)||0.124|
|Tue 4/1/08||vs. TOR||W, 3-2||Chien-Ming Wang (W)||0.198||Roy Halladay||-0.037|
|Mon 4/2/07||vs. TBR||W, 9-5||Carl Pavano||-0.236||Scott Kazmir||-0.181|
|Mon 4/3/06||@ OAK||W, 15-2||Randy Johnson (W)||0.074||Barry Zito (L)||-0.396|
|Sun 4/3/05||vs. BOS||W, 9-2||Randy Johnson (W)||0.192||David Wells (L)||-0.278|
|Tue 3/30/04||@ TBR||L, 8-3||Mike Mussina (L)||-0.425||Victor Zambrano (W)||-0.046|
|Mon 3/31/03||@ TOR||W, 8-4||Roger Clemens (W)||0.294||Roy Halladay (L)||-0.201|
|Mon 4/1/02||@ BAL||L, 10-3||Roger Clemens (L)||-0.359||Scott Erickson (W)||0.138|
|Mon 4/2/01||vs. KCR||W, 7-3||Roger Clemens (W)||0.120||Jeff Suppan (L)||-0.242|
|Mon 4/3/00||@ ANA||W, 3-2||Orlando Hernandez (W)||0.357||Ken Hill (L)||0.055|
|Mon 4/5/99||@ OAK||L, 5-3||Roger Clemens||0.110||Gil Heredia||0.113|
|Wed, 4/1/98||@ ANA||L, 4-1||Andy Pettitte (L)||-0.118||Chuck Finley (W)||0.316|
|Tue 4/1/97||@ SEA||L, 4-2||David Cone (L)||-0.167||Jeff Fassero (W)||0.215|
|Tue 4/2/96||@ CLE||W, 7-1||David Cone (W)||0.490||Dennis Martinez (L)||0.145|
|Wed 4/26/95||vs. TEX||W, 8-6||Jimmy Key (W)||-0.050||Kenny Rogers (L)||-0.245|
|Mon 4/4/94||vs. TEX||W, 5-3||Jimmy Key (W)||0.155||Kevin Brown (L)||-0.202|
|Mon 4/5/93||@ CLE||W, 9-1||Jimmy Key (W)||0.212||Charles Nagy (L)||-0.240|
|Tue 4/7/92||vs. BOS||W, 4-3||Scott Sanderson (W)||0.077||Roger Clemens (L)||-0.177|
|Mon 4/8/91||@ DET||L, 6-4||Tim Leary||-0.130||Frank Tanana||-0.205|
|Thu 4/12/90||vs. CLE||W, 6-4||Dave LaPoint||0.004||Buddy Black||-0.131|
The Yankees are 13-8 over their last 21 season openers. They’ve only started their season at home in eight of those games. Jimmy Key leads this table with three wins and no losses. Roger Clemens was 2-1 with a no-decision as Yankee, and also lost on Opening Day as a member of the Red Sox in 1992. Randy Johnson went 2-0 in his two lone Opening Day starts. David Cone was 1-1; Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte lost their only nods. CC Sabathia is 0-1 with a no-decision. Chien-Ming Wang and Orlando Hernandez each have Opening Day Ws. The fact that Scott Sanderson, Tim Leary and Dave LaPoint were the Opening Day starters in the early 1990s tells you everything you need to know about the early ’90s Yankees.
Interestingly, four former Yankees not including Clemens — David Wells, Scott Erickson, Kevin Brown and Kenny Rogers — all appear in this table as opponents. Did you know the Yankees have beaten Roy Halladay on Opening Day twice, once in 2003 when he won the Cy Young, and also in 2008, when he finished second in the voting?
The top individual Yankee performance by WPA was Cone’s Opening Day start against the Indians in 1996. The worst? Mussina against the Devil Rays in Japan in 2004. Opponent-wise, the best individual WPA performance was Chuck Finley for Anaheim in 1998, while the worst was Barry Zito for Oakland in 2006. I remember that game like it was yesterday — following a scoreless first inning, the first six hitters for the Yankees reached base in the second, and after three runs came in Alex Rodriguez brought four more home with a grand slam, sending Zito to the showers after 1 1/3 innings. Good times; would love to see something similar happen to Justin Verlander this afternoon.
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