Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Opening Day Lineups

Today, the Pirates are in Cincinnati again, taking on the Reds. I looked at Monday's Opening Day lineup. As befits a team that's both young and successful, there has been a fair amount of continuity:

  • Francisco Liriano was the opening day starting pitcher. That's the first time the Pirates have had a pitcher start back-to-back opening games since Oliver Perez in 2005-2006 (gulp - he had a 6.18 ERA with the club over those two seasons).
  • It was Starling Marte's third straight opening day start in left field, the longest streak since Jason Bay in 2005-2008.
  • Second baseman Neil Walker and first baseman Pedro Alvarez have been in five straight opening days, though Alvarez was previously a third baseman. Walker's the first Pirate second baseman to appear in five opening days since Jose Lind in 1988-1992. Alvarez's move across the diamond prevents him from topping the third base streak of Aramis Ramirez (four straight, 2000-2003) and approaching Bill Madlock (six straight, 1980-1985).
Then there's Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates' (and, arguably, the National League's) best player has been the Pirates' opening day center fielder six straight seasons. He's now one away from matching Andy Van Slyke, who had seven straight opening starts in center from 1988 to 1984.

McCutchen is signed through 2017, with a club option for 2018. Assuming he stays a Pirate at least through 2018 and remains healthy, he'll have nine straight opening day starts in center for the Bucs, becoming the team's all-time leader. He'll surpass Max Carey, Bill Virdon, and Lloyd Waner, all of whom had eight. 

Only five Pirates have been in the team's opening day lineup more then ten times, and each is in the Hall of Fame:

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