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List of Atlanta Braves Opening Day starting pitchers

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List of Atlanta Braves Opening Day starting pitchers

For the Opening Day starting pitchers before the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1966, see List of Boston and Milwaukee Braves Opening Day starting pitchers.

The Atlanta Braves are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Atlanta, Georgia. They play in the National League East division. They were based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Boston, Massachusetts before moving to Atlanta for the 1966 season.[1] 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 given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season.[2] The Atlanta Braves have used 19 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 47 seasons in Atlanta. The 19 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 14 wins, 20 losses and 13 no decisions.[3] No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game.[4]

Hall of Famer Phil Niekro holds the Atlanta Braves' record for most Opening Day starts, with eight. He has a record in Opening Day starts for the Braves of no wins and six losses with two no decisions. Greg Maddux had seven Opening Day starts for the team and Rick Mahler had five. Tom Glavine and John Smoltz have each made four Opening Day starts for the Braves. Maddux has the record for most wins in Atlanta Braves Opening Day starts, with five. Mahler has the highest winning percentage in Opening Day starts (1.000), with four wins and no losses with one no decision. All of Mahler's four victories were shutouts, including three in consecutive years (1985 to 1987) by identical scores of 6–0. Niekro has the record for most losses in Atlanta Braves Opening Day starts, with six.[3]

From 1972 through 1980, the Braves lost nine consecutive Opening Day games. In those games, their starting pitchers had a record of no wins, six losses and three no decisions. Niekro had five of the losses during this streak, and Carl Morton had the other. Morton, Gary Gentry and Andy Messersmith had no decisions during the streak. One of the most famous Opening Day games in baseball history occurred during this stretch. That was the game on April 4, 1974 against the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium, when Hank Aaron hit his 714th career home run to tie Babe Ruth's all-time record. Carl Morton was Atlanta's starting pitcher for that game, and received a no decision.[3][5][6]

Overall, Atlanta Braves' Opening Day starting pitchers have a record of 4–5 with four no decisions at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, their original home ball park in Atlanta and a 3–3 record with one no decision at their current home park, Turner Field. This gives the Atlanta Braves' Opening Day starting pitchers a combined home record 7–8 with five no decisions. Their away record is 7–12 with eight no decisions. The Braves went on to play in the World Series in 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 1999, and won the 1995 World Series championship games. John Smoltz was the Opening Day starting pitcher in 1991, Tom Glavine in 1992 and 1999, and Greg Maddux in 1995 and 1996. They had a combined Opening Day record of 3–2 in years that the Atlanta Braves played in the World Series.[3]

Key

Season Each year is linked to an article about that particular Braves season.
W Win
L Loss
ND (W) No decision by starting pitcher; Braves won game
ND (L) No decision by starting pitcher; Braves lost game
Final
Score
Game score with Braves runs listed first
Location Stadium in italics for home game
Pitcher (#) Number of appearances as Opening Day starter with the Braves
* Advanced to the post-season
** Won National League Championship Series
Won World Series

Pitchers



Season Pitcher Decision Final
score
Opponent Location Ref(s)
1966 Cloninger, TonyTony Cloninger[a] L 2–3 Pittsburgh Pirates Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [7]
1967 Lemaster, DennyDenny Lemaster L 1–6 Houston Astros Astrodome [8]
1968 Jarvis, PatPat Jarvis L 1–2 St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium [9]
1969* Jarvis, PatPat Jarvis (2) ND (W) 5–4 San Francisco Giants Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [10]
1970 Niekro, PhilPhil Niekro L 3–8 San Diego Padres San Diego Stadium [11]
1971 Niekro, PhilPhil Niekro (2) ND (W) 7–4 Cincinnati Reds Riverfront Stadium [12]
1972 Niekro, PhilPhil Niekro (3) L 5–6 San Diego Padres San Diego Stadium [13]
1973 Gentry, GaryGary Gentry ND (L) 1–2 Houston Astros Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [14]
1974 Morton, CarlCarl Morton ND (L) 6–7 Cincinnati Reds Riverfront Stadium [5][15]
1975 Niekro, PhilPhil Niekro (4) L 2–6 Houston Astros Astrodome [16]
1976 Morton, CarlCarl Morton (2) L 2–8 San Diego Padres San Diego Stadium [17]
1977 Messersmith, AndyAndy Messersmith ND (L) 2–3 Houston Astros Astrodome [18]
1978 Niekro, PhilPhil Niekro (5) L 4–13 Los Angeles Dodgers Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [19]
1979 Niekro, PhilPhil Niekro (6) L 1–2 Houston Astros Astrodome [20]
1980 Niekro, PhilPhil Niekro (7) L 0–9 Cincinnati Reds Riverfront Stadium [21]
1981 Boggs, TommyTommy Boggs ND (W) 5–3 Cincinnati Reds Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [22]
1982* Mahler, RickRick Mahler W 1–0 San Diego Padres Jack Murphy Stadium [23]
1983 Niekro, PhilPhil Niekro (8) ND (L) 4–5 Cincinnati Reds Riverfront Stadium [24]
1984 Barker, LenLen Barker L 0–5 Philadelphia Phillies Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [25]
1985 Mahler, RickRick Mahler (2) W 6–0 Philadelphia Phillies Veterans Stadium [26]
1986 Mahler, RickRick Mahler (3) W 6–0 Montreal Expos Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [27]
1987 Mahler, RickRick Mahler (4) W 6–0 Philadelphia Phillies Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [28]
1988 Mahler, RickRick Mahler (5) ND (L) 9–10 Chicago Cubs Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [29]
1989 Smith, ZaneZane Smith L 10–3 Houston Astros Astrodome [30]
1990 Glavine, TomTom Glavine L 0–8 San Francisco Giants Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [31]
1991** Smoltz, JohnJohn Smoltz L 4–6 Los Angeles Dodgers Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [32]
1992** Glavine, TomTom Glavine (2) W 2–0 Houston Astros Astrodome [33]
1993* Maddux, GregGreg Maddux W 1–0 Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field [34]
1994 Maddux, GregGreg Maddux (2) W 4–1 San Diego Padres Jack Murphy Stadium [35]
1995 Maddux, GregGreg Maddux (3) W 12–5 San Francisco Giants Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [36]
1996** Maddux, GregGreg Maddux (4) W 10–8 San Francisco Giants Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium [37]
1997* Smoltz, JohnJohn Smoltz (2) L 1–2 Houston Astros Astrodome [38]
1998* Maddux, GregGreg Maddux (5) ND (W) 2–1 Milwaukee Brewers Turner Field [39]
1999** Glavine, TomTom Glavine (3) L 4–7 Philadelphia Phillies Turner Field [40]
2000* Maddux, GregGreg Maddux (6) W 2–0 Colorado Rockies Turner Field [41]
2001* Burkett, JohnJohn Burkett ND (W) 10–4 Cincinnati Reds Cinergy Field [42]
2002* Glavine, TomTom Glavine (4) W 7–2 Philadelphia Phillies Turner Field [43][44]
2003* Maddux, GregGreg Maddux (7) L 2–10 Montreal Expos Turner Field [45][46]
2004* Ortiz, RussRuss Ortiz L 2–7 New York Mets Turner Field [47][48]
2005* Smoltz, JohnJohn Smoltz (3) L 0–9 Florida Marlins Dolphin Stadium [49][50]
2006 Hudson, TimTim Hudson ND (W) 11–10 Los Angeles Dodgers Dodger Stadium [51][52]
2007 Smoltz, JohnJohn Smoltz (4) ND (W) 5–3 Philadelphia Phillies Citizens Bank Park [53][54]
2008 Hudson, TimTim Hudson (2) ND (L) 2–3 Washington Nationals Nationals Park [55][56]
2009 Lowe, DerekDerek Lowe W 4–1 Philadelphia Phillies Citizens Bank Park [57]
2010* Lowe, DerekDerek Lowe (2) W 16–5 Chicago Cubs Turner Field [58]
2011 Lowe, DerekDerek Lowe (3) W 2–0 Washington Nationals Nationals Park [59]
2012 Hanson, TommyTommy Hanson L 0–1 New York Mets Citi Field [60]
2013 Hudson, TimTim Hudson (3) ND (W) 7–5 Philadelphia Phillies Turner Field [61]

Footnotes

  • a Tony Cloninger had one Opening Day start for the Atlanta Braves in 1966. He also had one Opening Day start for the Milwaukee Braves in 1965, giving him a total of two Opening Day starts for the Braves' franchise.[7][62]

References

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