Pirates starter Burnett's 10-K Opening Day start no match for Candy Man, Veale
Aside from Anthony Rizzo's first-inning blast, the hardest hit A.J. Burnett took on Opening Day came when the rosin bag on the pitcher's mound exploded in his hand.
The Cubs mustered little contact against the Pirates' ace, who struck out 10 batters in his first career Opening Day start. Burnett, the leader in strikeouts among Pirates' starters in 2012 and fifth in strikeouts among active major league starters, tied the club record for most punchouts on Opening Day.
Most strikeouts by a Pirates starting pitcher on Opening Day:
Pitcher Year Opp. SO
1. A.J. Burnett 2013 Cubs 10
John Candelaria 1983 Cardinals 10
Bob Veale 1965 Giants 10
4. Oliver Perez 2006 Brewers 9
Tim Wakefield 1993 Padres 9
Steve Blass 1970 Mets 9
While Burnett whiffed plenty of hitters, he also racked up a high pitch count and exited after 5 2⁄3 innings. That relatively short outing, coupled with the Rizzo homer, means Burnett's high-K day wasn't quite as impressive as other hurlers on this list.
John Candelaria, for example, surrendered one run during a complete-game win over the Cardinals. Bob Veale tossed 10 scoreless innings while besting the then-Milwaukee Braves.
Burnett's Opening Day ranks lowest among these Pirates, according to Game Score, a Bill James stat that gauges a pitcher's effectiveness on a scale of 0 to 100 based on innings pitched, strikeouts, hits, walks and runs allowed.
Game Scores for high-strikeout Opening Day starts:
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: New acquisition Happ more than happy to fill spot in rotation
- Gameday: Pirates at Reds, Aug. 2, 2015
- Marte’s 2 fine defensive plays rescue Pirates in victory over Reds
- Pirates trade for Dodgers 1B/OF Morse, Mariners LHP Happ
- Hurdle: Soria likely to assume setup role with Watson
- Pirates place Burnett on 15-day disabled list
- Pirates’ Burnett endures another poor start in blowout loss to Reds
- Pirates acquire pitcher Blanton from Royals for cash
- Gameday: Pirates at Cincinnati, Aug. 1, 2015
- Pirates bolster bullpen by trading for former closer Soria
- Gameday: Pirates at Reds, July 31, 2015