Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.
When teams break Spring Training and get ready to start the season on Opening Day, there’s an expectation that the players they send out on that Opening Day line-up are the best the team has to offer that season. The same goes for the Opening Day pitcher.
Over the course of the Brewers history, Ben Sheets has had the most Opening Day starts with six. This year’s Opening Day starter, Yovani Gallardo, started his third Opening Day game, tying him with Jim Slaton and Teddy Higuera for most Opening Game starts by a pitcher.
Some seasons, however, have seen the Brewers send out an Opening Day pitcher who had less-than-a-stellar season with the club. In some cases, that Opening Day pitcher was not with the club later that season because of a trade, or that Opening Day starter was eventually relegated to the bullpen because of poor performance.
While it may be a little harsh to call the following pitchers the “worst” Opening Day starting pitchers in Brewers history, the bottom line is that these Opening Day starters did not fit the bill as the “best” the Brewers had to offer that season.
Following are the Brewers Opening Day pitchers who compiled the lowest winning percentage that same year.
Pitcher, Year, W-L, Win Pct. (Opening Day performance)
Steve Woodard, 2000: 1-7 .125 (Game ended in a 3-3 tie due to rain, Woodard no-decision; 5IP, five hits, 3ER, four strikeouts, one walk)
Rafael Roque, 1999: 1-6 .143 (Brewers won 10-8, Roque no-decision; 2IP, one hit, 1ER, one strikeout, five walks)
Bill Wegman, 1993: 4-14 .222 (Brewers lost 3-1, Wegman got the loss; 8IP, 10 hits, 3ER, six strikeouts, one walk)
Bill Travers, 1977: 4-12 .250 (Brewers lost 3-0; Travers got the loss; 7.2IP, 11 hits, 3ER, one strikeout, one walk)
Mark Knudson, 1991: 1-3 .250 (Brewers won 5-4, Knudson got the win; 5.1IP, 5 hits, 3ER, three strikeouts, no walks)
Chris Bosio, 1990: 4-9 .308 (Brewers lost 2-1, Bosio no-decision; 5IP, five hits, 1ER, one strikeout, one walk)
Ricky Bones, 1996: 7-14 .333 (Brewers won 15-9, Bones no-decision; 4.2IP, 12 hits, 4ER, one strikeout, no walks)
Cal Eldred, 1998: 4-8 .333 (Brewers lost 2-1, Eldred no-decision; 6IP, five hits, 1ER, four strikeouts, two walks)
Jeff Suppan, 2009: 7-12 .368 (Brewers lost 10-6, Suppan got the loss; 4IP, 6 hits, 6ER, one strikeout, one walk)
Jim Slaton, 1975: 11-18 .379 (Brewers lost 5-2, Slaton got the loss; 2.2IP, seven hits, 5ER, four strikeouts, two walks)
Don Sutton, 1983: 8-13 .381 (Brewers lost 3-2, Sutton got the loss; 8IP, six hits, 2ER, four strikeouts, three walks)
Note: Woodard’s only win with the Brewers in 2000 was a 14-8 victory over the Cubs where he gave up six earned runs and 13 hits in five innings of work. He was later traded that season to the Cleveland Indians. Roque made his Major League debut in 1998 on August 1 and compiled a 4-2 record that season. One of the interesting facts about Roque that year was he gave up both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s 64th home runs that year. Roque was named Brewers Opening Day starter for 1999 and did not win a game in his first eight starts that season.
Here’s a look at the five Brewers Opening Day pitchers who had the worst ERAs that season.
Pitcher, Year, ERA
Steve Woodard, 2000: 5.96
Ricky Bones, 1996: 5.83
Rafael Roque, 1999: 5.34
Don August, 1989: 5.31
Jeff Suppan, 2009: 5.29
Bill Travers, 1977: 5.25
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.
Here’s a look at some stats that may determine who wins the National League Championship Series between division rivals the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals. The seven-game League Championship Series format was first instituted in 1985 in both leagues. The stats below reflect only those seven-game series between 1985-2010 (a total of 25 N.L. LCS; there was no playoffs in 1994 due to the player strike).
* Will the homefield advantage help the Brewers, who had the best home record in all of baseball in 2011? The home team has won 82 and lost 66 in the NL LCS. In 2004 LCS between the Cardinals and Astros, the home team won every game, the only time that has happened in the past 25 years.
* Teams that have scored four or more runs in a N.L. LCS since 1985 have a record of 110-39, a .738 winning percentage.
* The team that has won the series has won the first game 18 of the 25 times. The eventual N.L. LCS winner is 15-10 in Game Two… 16-9 in Game Three… 15-10 in Game Four… 14-9 in Game Five… and 14-3 in Game Six. They are undefeated in seven Game Sevens, but you knew that.
* The team that scores first in the game is 87-61, a .588 winning percentage.
WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION: The last time the Cardinals won a N.L. LCS was in 2006. Who was the MVP of that series? Answer at end of the blog.
* In the 10 series where one of the teams wins the first two games and takes a 2-0 lead in the series, the team with the 2-0 lead has won the series nine of those 10 times. The only time a team down 0-2 in a N.L. LCS won the series was in 1985 when the Dodgers won the first two games but then lost four in a row to the Cardinals.
* In the 15 series where the two teams were tied at 1-1 after the first two games, the team that won Game Three has won the series 11 times and lost the series four times.
* There have been 15 extra-inning games in the N.L. LCS since 1985. The home team is only 5-10 in those games. The team that eventually wins the series, however, is 12-3 in those extra inning games.
* There have been three times when a team has lost three LCS games in a series and still won the series. It happened in 1996 (Atlanta), 2003 (Florida) and 2004 (St. Louis).
* The Milwaukee are making their National League LCS debut this year. The Cardinals have played in nine N.L. LCS since 1969 compiling a record of 26-27.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan was the MVP of the 2006 N.L. LCS.