Tuesday Clint Hurdle announced that Francisco Liriano will get the nod when the Bucs open the season March 31 at PNC Park against the Chicago Cubs. Liriano will be the 12th different Pirates starter in the 14 seasons since the Pirates moved into PNC. The only two pitchers to get more than one start this century are Oliver Perez and Zach Duke with Perez being the only one to make consecutive Opening Day starts in 2005-2006. The complete list and a brief recap of the Openers:
2001 Todd Ritchie: Pirates lost 3-2 at Cincinnati. Ritchie took the loss going 6 innings, giving up all 3 runs. He would also be the loser six days later in the first-ever game at PNC, 8-2 also to the Reds.
2002 Ron Villone: Pirates lost 6-2 to the Mets at Shea. Villone took the loss giving up 4 runs in 6 innings.
2003 Kris Benson: Pirates won 10-1 in Cincinnati. Benson went 6.1IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 3BB, 3K to get the win. Benson would only win 4 more games that season, not pitching after July 17 due to injury.
2004 Kip Wells: Pirates won 2-1, the first time they ever opened their season at PNC. Wells got the win going 6 scoreless while striking out 7.
2005 Oliver Perez: Pirates lost at home to Milwaukee 9-2. Perez gave up 6 runs in five innings, getting pulled after two batters in the sixth when the Brewers put up 5.
2006 Oliver Perez: Perez becomes the only pitcher to get consecutive Opening Day starts this century. The Bucs lose 5-2 at Milwaukee. Perez strikes out 9 in 5.1 innings and gets a no-decision. Salamon Torres takes the loss.
2007 Zach Duke: Pirates win 4-2 in ten in Houston. The Bucs scored one in the 8th on a Nate McLouth HR, one in the 9th on a 2-out HR by Xavier Nady off Billy Wagner and two in the 10th on a 2-run shot by Jason Bay. Duke went 7, giving up 8 hits and two runs. He walked one and struck out none of the 26 batters he faced. Matt Capps got the win.
2008 Ian Snell: The Pirates go extras for the second year in a row, beating the Braves 12-11 in 12 innings in Atlanta. Snell gave up 4 runs in 6 innings. Damaso Marte and Matt Capps gave up 5 in the bottom of the 9th as the Braves tied it. Franquelis Osoria gave up 2 in the bottom of the 12th, but held on for the win, going the final three innings.
2009 Paul Maholm: Pirates win 6-4 in St. Louis. Malholm went 6.2 innings giving up 2 runs, 1 earned. He walked one and only struck out one of the 30 batters he faced. John Grabow got the win.
2010 Zach Duke: Pirates win 11-5 at home against the Dodgers as Duke becomes the second pitcher to make two Opening Day starts this century. He got the win giving up two runs over five innings. He struck out 1 of the 23 batters he faced making it a total of 1 strikeout recorded against 49 batters faced in two Opening Day starts.
2011 Kevin Correia: Corriea signed a 2-year deal in the offseason and immediately became the Opening Day starter. Not a great sign. The Pirates won this one 6-3 over the Cubs at Wrigley. Correia went 6, gave up 2 earned runs and got the win. He struck out three. He must not have wanted to strike out more.
2012 Erik Bedard: Bedard signed a 1-year deal in the offseason and immediately became the Opening Day starter. Not a great sign. The Pirates lost this one 1-0 as Roy Halladay gave up hits to the first two batters he faced and then went 8 innings without allowing only 2 HBP the rest of the way. Bedard went 7 giving up 1 run and took the loss.
2013 A.J. Burnett: The Pirates lost to the Cubs at PNC 3-1. Burnett gave up 3 runs in 5.2 IP, striking out 10 and took the loss. Jeff Samardzija got the win and is expected to get the nod against the Bucs on Opening Day 2014.
2014 Francisco Liriano: If Jeff Samardzija does get the start, he will become the first pitcher ever to make two Opening Days starts at PNC. He'll do it as a member of the Cubs.
Scott Brown-Pittsburgh Tribune Review Sports & Golf Writer
Rob Biertempfel - Pittsburgh Pirates Reporter
Rob Rossi - Pittsburgh Penguins Reporter
Kevin Gorman - Pittsburgh Sports Reporter
Mark Kaboly- Pittsburgh Tribune Review Steelers Beat Writer
Dejan Kovacevic - Pittsburgh Sports Reporter
Josh Yohe- Penguins beat writer for the Tribune-Review