While the record books will always show that the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 2014 home opener took place 7,800 miles away at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22, for consistency’s purposes, we’ll consider Monday night’s contest against the San Francisco Giants the team’s “real” home opener. After all, the game is set to be played at Chase Field.
To get you ready for Arizona’s 17th opener, here’s a look back at the previous 16 games by the numbers:
In their first regular season game after winning the 2001 World Series, the D-backs recorded their first and only shutout in a home opener. Randy Johnson pitched a complete game and struck out eight in a 2-0 win over the San Diego Padres.
Arizona was also blanked once during a home opener. One year later, Hideo Nomo outdueled Johnson, allowing just four hits in 8-0 win for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The D-backs have a 3-1 record in home openers decided by one-run or less. Their last one-run win came in April 2012 against the San Francisco Giants, but arguably their most memorable came three years earlier against the Colorado Rockies.
On that day, Tony Clark and Felipe Lopez became the first set of teammates to homer from each side of the plate on Opening Day. Arizona won the slugfest 9-8.
Monday will mark just the third time that Arizona has played its home opener in the month of March. The previous times (1998 and 2003), the D-backs suffered ugly losses at the hands of the Dodgers and Rockies.
Catcher Miguel Montero will make his fifth consecutive start in a home opener Monday night, however he remains three shy of the franchise record. From 1999-2006, outfielder Luis Gonzalez made eight straight starts in home openers.
In their history, the D-backs have hosted eight different home opener opponents, including all four from the National League West.
The Rockies have played in four of the D-backs’ home openers, while the Dodgers have been featured in three.
Three National League Central clubs, the Cardinals, Cubs and Reds, have also taken part in Arizona’s season-opening festivities.
When Brandon McCarthy takes the mound Monday night, he’ll become the ninth D-backs pitcher to start in a home opener.
McCarthy joins Andy Benes, Randy Johnson, Livan Hernandez, Javier Vasquez, Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, Doug Davis and Ian Kennedy.
Arizona has had plenty of success in home openers. To date, the team has a 10-6 record, including seven straight wins dating back to 2007.
Runs, runs and more runs. On two different occasions, Arizona has surpassed the 10-run mark in a home opener. During their last run to the postseason, the D-backs opened the home portion of their 2011 campaign with an 13-2 whooping of the Cincinnati Reds.
Every position player not named Melvin Mora recorded at least one hit that day, and eight players drove in one or more runs.
The 2005 home opener against the Chicago Cubs was easily the club’s most lopsided loss to begin a campaign. First-year D-back Javier Vasquez didn’t quite endear himself to the home crowd, as he gave up seven runs on 10 hits in less than two innings of work. The North Siders won with ease by a final of 16-6.
1999, 2002, 2007 and 2011:
In its 16 years of existence, Arizona has made the postseason five times. In those five seasons, the D-backs won their home opener four times. Ironically, the only time they didn’t win their home opener yet played October baseball was back in the 2001 — the year they captured the franchise’s lone World Series title.