Rockies Retro: Opening Day Starters, 2000-2008

As Opening Day fast approaches, let's look back at that most wonderful time of the year (well, unless the Rockies lose that day). I give the Win Probability Added (WPA), provided by FanGraphs.com, because it is a context-sensitive statistic that tells us how important a player was to his team's win or loss.

1 April 2008
Starter – Kip Wells
WPA - .088
Result – Rockies 2, Cardinals 1

Kip Wells became the “Opening Day” starter after rain forced the previous day’s game to be null and void. Wells went 5 1/3 innings, his longest outing of the year.

2 April 2007
Starter – Aaron Cook
WPA - -.127
Result – Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 8

Cook went up against Brandon Webb, who was also beat up in this game. Both starters allowed five runs each and combined to walk seven batters. Despite the bad outing by Cook, the Rockies had the lead late in the game—only to see LaTroy Hawkins blow it by allowing a 6-5 lead to turn into a 6-8 deficit. Hawkins had a -.549 WPA

3 April 2006
Starter – Jason Jennings
WPA - .358
Result – Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 2

Jason Jennings drew Brandon Webb, and both wound up with the same WPA. Neither factored into the decision, as the game was tied at one when both left after the seventh innings. Jennings struck out six batters to Webb’s two. This game was decided in 11 innings when Brad Hawpe hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Matt Holliday.

Find out more after the jump.

4 April 2005
Starter – Joe Kennedy
WPA - -.225
Result – Rockies 12, Padres 10

Kennedy squared off against Woody Williams, and neither helped their team out all that much. Williams allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings and Kennedy saw six runs score in five innings. In the sixth inning, Kennedy allowed a leadoff single and a walk before Xavier Nady blasted a ball for a home run. Down by two runs to start the bottom of the ninth, the Rockies mounted an incredible comeback that ended with a Clint Barmes two-run homer. Oh, and Dustan Mohr injured himself while celebrating the win.

6 April 2004
Starter – Shawn Estes
WPA - .342
Result – Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 2
Shawn Estes allowed only two runs in seven innings, while the Rockies got to Randy Johnson just enough to get him out after six innings.

1 April 2003
Starter – Jason Jennings
WPA - -.492
Result – Rockies 4, Astros 10

Jason Jennings was torched for eight run in four innings (six in the third inning).

1 April 2002
Starter – Mike Hampton
WPA - -.354
Result – Rockies 2, Cardinals 10

Hampton allowed six runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. Oh, Mike Hampton, how we do not miss you.

2 April 2001
Starter – Mike Hampton
WPA - .339
Result – Rockies 8, Cardinals 0

It was a good start for Hampton, and he did do well for the rest of the first half of the season. In this game he went 8 1/3 innings, struck out five, and walked three. Former Rockie Darryl Kile allowed six runs in five innings.

3 April 2000
Starter – Pedro Astacio
WPA - .098
Result – Rockies 0, Braves 2

Pedro Astacio matched Greg Maddux inning for inning until the seventh when Andres Galarraga and Chipper Jones knocked out back-to-back homers. Have to give credit for Maddux stymieing Rockies that day.

Since 2000, the Rockies are 5-4 in Opening Day, but the starters have record of 2-3 and four no decisions. The schedulemakers have also liked to pit the Rockies against the Cardinals and D'Backs the most this decade, combining  for six Opening Days contests between the two.

Next time, we'll go back and visit the '90s.

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