A look back: Arizona Diamondbacks on Opening Day

Apr 1, 2013, 4:51 AM

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.

Of note:

* 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

April 6, 2012
Diamondbacks vs. Giants, Chase Field
The defending NL West champions got off to a fast start courtesy of first inning home runs from Chris Young and Paul Goldschmidt, taking an early 3-0 lead. Starting pitcher Ian Kennedy tossed 6.2 innings while allowing nine hits and three earned runs, Ryan Roberts tallied two RBI, and closer J.J. Putz was able to lock things down in the ninth -- albeit not without a little drama. April 1, 2011
Diamondbacks vs. Rockies, Coors Field

In what was the first of many close games to 
be played by the D-backs this season, Arizona 
saw its bullpen cough up a lead left to them 
by Ian Kennedy, only to see the team rally 
for the 7-6 win in the 11th inning. The D-
backs got home runs from Justin Upton and 
Miguel Montero, and scored the winning run on 
Gerardo Parra scored on a wild pitch. April 5 2010
Diamondbacks vs. Padres, Chase Field

An inside-the-park home run from Stephen Drew 
as well as an outside-the-park blast from 
Mark Reynolds gave Dan Haren all the support 
he needed, as the D-backs ace allowed just 1 
run in 7 innings of work. The bullpen tried 
to blow it, but Arizona held on for the 6-3 
win. April 6, 2009
Diamondbacks vs. Rockies, Chase Field

Fans of the long ball couldn't help but enjoy 
this one, as the D-backs got two home runs 
each from Tony Clark and Felipe Lopez, as 
well as one from Chad Tracy. Arizona needed 
every one of them, as Brandon Webb exited 
after allowing 6 runs in 4 innings of 
work. The D-backs won 9-8, but Webb has not 
pitched in a major league game since. March 31, 2008
Diamondbacks vs. Reds, Great American 

The reigning NL West champs got home runs from 
Eric Byrnes and Chris Young in the third 
inning as well as Jeff Salazar in the 
seventh, and Brandon Webb's solid-but-not-
great effort was enough to get the D-backs a 
4-2 road win in the season opener. April 2, 2007
Diamondbacks vs. Rockies, Coors Field

The D-backs once again opened the season in 
Denver, but were able to escape with a win 
this time around. Brandon Webb was not at his 
best -- allowing 5 runs in 5 innings of work 
-- but Eric Byrnes and Orlando Hudson 
combined to drive in three during a big 8th 
inning, while the bullpen was able to lock 
down the 8-6 win. April 3, 2006
Diamondbacks vs. Rockies, Coors Field

The Diamondbacks opened on the road for the 
first time since 2001, and subsequently lost 
their fourth straight opener. Brandon Webb 
allowed just 1 run in 7 innings of work, but 
the bullpen let this one slip away in extra 
innings, falling 3-2. April 4, 2005
Diamondbacks vs. Cubs, Bank One 

Javier Vasquez's D-backs debut could not have 
gone much worse, as the new ace gave up 7 
runs on 10 hits -- in 1.2 innings. Jose Cruz 
homered while Luis Gonzalez, Chad Tracy and 
Koyie Hill all drove in runs, but it wasn't 
nearly enough as Arizona lost this one 16-6. April 6, 2004
Diamondbacks vs. Rockies, Bank One 

Luis Gonazelez hit a pair of home runs and 
Randy Johnson tossed a solid 6 innings, but 
neither was enough to get the D-backs past 
the Rockies in the 2004 opener. In perhaps 
what was a harbinger of what was to come, the 
Diamondbacks lost this one 6-2. March 31, 2003
Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers, Bank One 
The D-backs' streak of Opening Day victories 
ends at three as they get blown out 8-0 by 
the L.A. Dodgers to kick off the 2003 
campaign. Randy Johnson was tagged for 5 runs 
-- 3 earned -- in just 6.2 innings of work, 
while the Dodgers' Hideo Nomo tossed a 4-hit, 
complete-game shutout. April 1, 2002
Diamondbacks vs. Padres, Bank One 

The Diamondbacks showed off their new 
hardware prior to facing the San Diego Padres 
in the season opener. The World Series 
champions received a complete-game shutout 
from Randy Johnson, who struck out 8 while 
allowing just 6 hits and 1 walk. Mark 
Grace homered as the D-backs won 2-0. April 3, 2001
Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers, Dodger Stadium

Randy Johnson was once again masterful, tossing 
7 innings of 4-hit, 2-run baseball. He struck 
out 10, but needed an 8th-inning rally from his 
offense to get the win, which Arizona did by a 
score of 3-2. April 4, 2000
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies, Bank One 
Randy Johnson allowed just 2 runs in 8.2 
innings of work, but even his 10 strikeouts 
played second-fiddle to his team's offensive 
effort in this one. Home runs from Damian 
Miller, Luis Gonzalez and Steve Finley -- who 
went 4-for-4 for the game -- propelled the D-
backs to a 6-4 victory. April 5, 1999
Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers, Dodgers Stadium

Randy Johnson made his D-backs debut against 
Dodgers ace Kevin Brown, and Arizona's high-
priced free agent outdeuled LA's by allowing 
just two runs in 7 innings of work while 
strking out nine. Unfortunately for the D-
backs, Gregg Olson coughed up the lead in the 
ninth, and the Dodgers won 8-6 in 11 
innings. March 31, 1998
Diamondbacks vs. Rockies, Bank One 
Andy Benes got the nod for the Diamondbacks 
in their inaugural game. He threw 
the first pitch in franchise history (a ball, 
low and outside, to Mike Lansing), and gave 
up 5 runs in 6.1 innings of work. Travis Lee 
collected the franchise's first hit and first 
home run in the game, which Arizona lost 9-2.

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A look back: Arizona Diamondbacks on Opening Day