As the Arizona Diamondbacks get set for the 16th Opening
in franchise history, they do so without the expectations of a year ago.
After entering 2012 as the defending NL West champions, the Diamondbacks struggled with consistency and injuries on the way to an 81-81 season. Division rival San Francisco won the NL West and then the World Series, while Arizona spent its offseason remaking the roster.
Gone from last year’s opening day lineup are Justin Upton and Chris Young, who were dealt over the winter, and Ryan Roberts, who started at third base last season, was moved last July.
Will the additions of Martin Prado, Brandon McCarthy, Cody Ross and co. be enough to get the D-backs past National League heavyweights San Francisco and Los Angeles? We’ll see soon enough.
But before we concern ourselves with what’s to come, we’d
like to take a moment and look back on how the
Diamondbacks have opened their previous 15 seasons.
* The Diamondbacks will be opening their season against St. Louis for the second time in franchise history. They began the 2001 campaign vs. the Cardinals and ended it with a World Series championship.
* Randy Johnson leads the Diamondbacks in opening day
starts with six, and he’s followed by Brandon Webb’s four.
Ian Kennedy will be making his third opening day start in as many seasons Monday against St. Louis.
* The Diamondbacks have had 11 different opening day first
basemen, though Paul Goldschmidt is the first to open the season at that spot in consecutive years since Conor Jackson, who did so in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
* Luis Gonzalez got the nod in left field from 1999-2006,
but since then the D-backs have opened with Scott
Hairston, Eric Byrnes, Conor Jackson, Gerardo Parra and Jason Kubel. Interestingly enough, Kubel is the first D-back to begin consecutive seasons since, you guessed it, Conor Jackson, who did so in 2009 and 2010.
* For the first time since 2009, the D-backs will not be opening their season with Justin Upton in right field. And for the first time since 2006, Chris Young will not be patrolling center.
* The Diamondbacks are 9-6 all-time on opening day, having scored as many runs as they’ve allowed (89).
* Only two Diamondbacks opening day starters from the
inaugural season in 1998 took the same position on Opening
Day in 1999: Matt Williams (3B) and Travis Lee (1B).
* Just four position players from opening day 2012 will be in the lineup for the D-backs on opening day 2013, as Willie Bloomquist is injured and Chris Young, Justin Upton and Ryan Roberts are no longer with the team.
* Jay Bell was the team’s starting shortstop on Opening
Day in 1998, but moved over to second base the following
year. Conor Jackson started at first for the D-backs from
2006-08, but moved to left field in 2009-10.
* Craig Counsell started an opening day at three different
positions for the team, going from third base in 2002 to
second base in 2005. He then began the 2006 season at