The Braves played nine Opening Day games at Turner Field, their home stadium from 1997 through 2016.
The Braves played nine Opening Day games at Turner Field, their home stadium from 1997 through 2016.

The Atlanta Braves are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Atlanta. They play in the National League East division. They were based in Milwaukee and Boston before moving to Atlanta for the 1966 season.[1] The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season,[2] though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day.[3] The Atlanta Braves have used 22 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 57 seasons in Atlanta. The 22 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 15 wins, 23 losses and 19 no decisions.[4] No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game.[5]

Hall of Famer Phil Niekro holds the Atlanta Braves' record for most Opening Day starts, with eight. Greg Maddux had seven for the team and Julio Teherán was featured six consecutive times from 2014 to 2019. Rick Mahler had five while Tom Glavine and John Smoltz have each made four Opening Day starts for the Braves. Maddux has the record for most wins in Atlanta Braves Opening Day starts, with five. Mahler has the highest winning percentage in Opening Day starts (1.000), with four wins and no losses with one no decision. All of Mahler's four victories were shutouts, including three in consecutive years (1985 to 1987) by identical scores of 6–0. Niekro has the record for most losses in Atlanta Braves Opening Day starts, with six.[4]

From 1972 through 1980, the Braves lost nine consecutive Opening Day games. In those games, their starting pitchers had a record of no wins, six losses and three no decisions. Niekro had five of the losses during this streak, and Carl Morton had the other. Morton, Gary Gentry and Andy Messersmith had no decisions during the streak. One of the most famous Opening Day games in baseball history occurred during this stretch. That was the game on April 4, 1974, against the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium, when Hank Aaron hit his 714th career home run to tie Babe Ruth's all-time record. Carl Morton was Atlanta's starting pitcher for that game, and received a no decision.[4][6][7]

Overall, Atlanta Braves Opening Day starting pitchers have a record of 4–5 with four no decisions at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, their original home ball park in Atlanta. They have a 3–3 record with three no decisions at their second home park in Atlanta, Turner Field. At their current home park of Truist Park, originally named SunTrust Park, they have a 0–1 record with one no decision. This gives the Atlanta Braves' Opening Day starting pitchers a combined home record 7–9 with eight no decisions. Their away record is 8–14 with eleven no decisions. The Braves went on to play in the World Series in 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2021, winning the 1995 and 2021 iterations. John Smoltz was the Opening Day starting pitcher in 1991, Tom Glavine in 1992 and 1999, Greg Maddux in 1995 and 1996, and Max Fried in 2021. They have a combined Opening Day record of 3–2 in years that the Atlanta Braves played in the World Series.[4]

Key

Season Each year is linked to an article about that particular Braves season.
W Win
L Loss
ND (W) No decision by starting pitcher; Braves won game
ND (L) No decision by starting pitcher; Braves lost game
Final
Score
Game score with Braves runs listed first
Location Stadium in italics for home game
Pitcher (#) Number of appearances as Opening Day starter with the Braves
* Advanced to the post-season
** Won National League Championship Series
Won World Series

Pitchers

Phil Niekro was the Braves' Opening Day starting pitcher eight times, more than any other pitcher
Phil Niekro was the Braves' Opening Day starting pitcher eight times, more than any other pitcher
John Smoltz has made four Opening Day starts for the Braves.
John Smoltz has made four Opening Day starts for the Braves.
Tim Hudson was the Braves' 2013 Opening Day starting pitcher. Hudson also started in 2006 and 2008.
Tim Hudson was the Braves' 2013 Opening Day starting pitcher. Hudson also started in 2006 and 2008.
Julio Teherán was the Braves' Opening Day starting pitcher from 2014–2019.
Julio Teherán was the Braves' Opening Day starting pitcher from 2014–2019.
Season Pitcher Decision Final
score
Opponent Location Ref(s)
1966 Tony Cloninger[a] L 2–3 Pittsburgh Pirates Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [8]
1967 Denny Lemaster L 1–6 Houston Astros Astrodome [9]
1968 Pat Jarvis L 1–2 St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium [10]
1969* Pat Jarvis (2) ND (W) 5–4 San Francisco Giants Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [11]
1970 Phil Niekro L 3–8 San Diego Padres San Diego Stadium [12]
1971 Phil Niekro (2) ND (W) 7–4 Cincinnati Reds Riverfront Stadium [13]
1972 Phil Niekro (3) L 5–6 San Diego Padres San Diego Stadium [14]
1973 Gary Gentry ND (L) 1–2 Houston Astros Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [15]
1974 Carl Morton ND (L) 6–7 Cincinnati Reds Riverfront Stadium [6][16]
1975 Phil Niekro (4) L 2–6 Houston Astros Astrodome [17]
1976 Carl Morton (2) L 2–8 San Diego Padres San Diego Stadium [18]
1977 Andy Messersmith ND (L) 2–3 Houston Astros Astrodome [19]
1978 Phil Niekro (5) L 4–13 Los Angeles Dodgers Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [20]
1979 Phil Niekro (6) L 1–2 Houston Astros Astrodome [21]
1980 Phil Niekro (7) L 0–9 Cincinnati Reds Riverfront Stadium [22]
1981 Tommy Boggs ND (W) 5–3 Cincinnati Reds Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [23]
1982* Rick Mahler W 1–0 San Diego Padres Jack Murphy Stadium [24]
1983 Phil Niekro (8) ND (L) 4–5 Cincinnati Reds Riverfront Stadium [25]
1984 Len Barker L 0–5 Philadelphia Phillies Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [26]
1985 Rick Mahler (2) W 6–0 Philadelphia Phillies Veterans Stadium [27]
1986 Rick Mahler (3) W 6–0 Montreal Expos Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [28]
1987 Rick Mahler (4) W 6–0 Philadelphia Phillies Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [29]
1988 Rick Mahler (5) ND (L) 9–10 Chicago Cubs Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [30]
1989 Zane Smith L 10–3 Houston Astros Astrodome [31]
1990 Tom Glavine L 0–8 San Francisco Giants Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [32]
1991** John Smoltz L 4–6 Los Angeles Dodgers Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [33]
1992** Tom Glavine (2) W 2–0 Houston Astros Astrodome [34]
1993* Greg Maddux W 1–0 Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field [35]
1994 Greg Maddux (2) W 4–1 San Diego Padres Jack Murphy Stadium [36]
1995 Greg Maddux (3) W 12–5 San Francisco Giants Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [37]
1996** Greg Maddux (4) W 10–8 San Francisco Giants Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium [38]
1997* John Smoltz (2) L 1–2 Houston Astros Astrodome [39]
1998* Greg Maddux (5) ND (W) 2–1 Milwaukee Brewers Turner Field [40]
1999** Tom Glavine (3) L 4–7 Philadelphia Phillies Turner Field [41]
2000* Greg Maddux (6) W 2–0 Colorado Rockies Turner Field [42]
2001* John Burkett ND (W) 10–4 Cincinnati Reds Cinergy Field [43]
2002* Tom Glavine (4) W 7–2 Philadelphia Phillies Turner Field [44]
2003* Greg Maddux (7) L 2–10 Montreal Expos Turner Field [45]
2004* Russ Ortiz L 2–7 New York Mets Turner Field [46]
2005* John Smoltz (3) L 0–9 Florida Marlins Dolphin Stadium [47]
2006 Tim Hudson ND (W) 11–10 Los Angeles Dodgers Dodger Stadium [48]
2007 John Smoltz (4) ND (W) 5–3 Philadelphia Phillies Citizens Bank Park [49]
2008 Tim Hudson (2) ND (L) 2–3 Washington Nationals Nationals Park [50]
2009 Derek Lowe W 4–1 Philadelphia Phillies Citizens Bank Park [51]
2010* Derek Lowe (2) W 16–5 Chicago Cubs Turner Field [52]
2011 Derek Lowe (3) W 2–0 Washington Nationals Nationals Park [53]
2012 Tommy Hanson L 0–1 New York Mets Citi Field [54]
2013* Tim Hudson (3) ND (W) 7–5 Philadelphia Phillies Turner Field [55]
2014 Julio Teherán L 0–2 Milwaukee Brewers Miller Park [56]
2015 Julio Teherán (2) W 2–1 Miami Marlins Marlins Park [57]
2016 Julio Teherán (3) ND (L) 3–4 Washington Nationals Turner Field [58]
2017 Julio Teherán (4) ND (L) 0–6 New York Mets Citi Field [59]
2018* Julio Teherán (5) ND (W) 8–5 Philadelphia Phillies SunTrust Park [60]
2019* Julio Teherán (6) L 4–10 Philadelphia Phillies Citizens Bank Park [61]
2020* Mike Soroka ND (L) 0–1 New York Mets Citi Field [62]
2021 Max Fried ND (L) 2–3 Philadelphia Phillies Citizens Bank Park [63]
2022 Max Fried (2) L 3–6 Cincinnati Reds Truist Park [64]

Footnotes

References

General

"Atlanta Braves Opening Day Starters and Results". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 3, 2021.

Specific
  1. ^ "The Story of the Braves". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
  2. ^ Bastian, Jordan (March 22, 2010). "Marcum tapped for Jays' Opening Day". MLB.com. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  3. ^ Dilbeck, Steve (February 24, 2014). "Dodgers may not start Clayton Kershaw in Sydney". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d "Atlanta Braves Opening Day Starters and Results". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  5. ^ "Official Rules – The Official Scorer". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  6. ^ a b "Hank Aaron's 714th Home Run". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  7. ^ "Braves Timeline". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
  8. ^ a b "Braves Opening Day 1966". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  9. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1967". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  10. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1968". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  11. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1969". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  12. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1970". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  13. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1971". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  14. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1972". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  15. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1973". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  16. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1974". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  17. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1975". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
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  19. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1977". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
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  35. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1993". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
  36. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1994". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
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  38. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1996". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
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  41. ^ "Braves Opening Day 1999". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-26.
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  61. ^ "Braves Opening Day 2019". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
  62. ^ "Braves Opening Day 2020". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  63. ^ "Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies Box Score, April 1, 2021". Baseball Reference. Retrieved April 3, 2021.
  64. ^ "Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves Box Score, April 7, 2022". Baseball Reference. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  65. ^ "Milwaukee Braves Opening Day 1965". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2009-01-04.