The Kansas City Royals have officially named Brad Keller the starter for game one of the 2019 season. He will become the 26th man to be honored as Opening Day starter.
Since playing their first game in 1969, the Kansas City Royals hold a 17-33 record on Opening Day. The longest winning streak the team has ever had in this game is three wins from 1983-1985, and they won their inaugural game back in 1969. On the flip side, they lost six straight from 2009-2014.
None of that gives any information about the history of the teams Opening Day starter, but it is a good measurement of where the team stands. All of these weird and useless fun facts come from Baseball Reference.
The last time the Royals got a win on Opening Day, the decision was given to the starting pitcher. That was Edinson Volquez back in 2016 against the New York Mets. Since then, Danny Duffy has started back to back games that have both ended in convincing losses.
Kevin Appier has logged the most game one starts of any pitcher in Kansas City Royals history, as well as the most consecutive. He was given the honor six straight times from 1992-1997, then recorded a seventh start in 1999. Over his Opening Day starter career, the team won only a single time. Tim Belcher was given the nod in 1998, resulting in a win.
In case you ever need this fact for trivia, the last time Alex Gordon was not in the Royals Opening Day lineup was in 2010 and Zack Greinke was on the mound. Gordon was also in the lineup starting at third base in the three years prior to that season. So the last Kansas City starting pitcher to run out there before Gordon made is Opening Day debut was Scott Elarton in 2006.
Dating back to Elarton, the Kansas City Royals have had six guys get the ball only a single time. Prior to him, it happened five times, and three of them were the three years leading up to his start.
It would be impossible not to mention 2015. Yordano Ventura got the ball for his only Opening Day start, as the Royals beat the Chicago White Sox. He should still be getting the ball.
Here we are in 2019, Brad Keller on the bump. He joins a very small number of Kansas City Royals pitchers given this honor.