The Five Worst 2023 Opening Day Starting Pitchers
Opening Day. It's the easiest day to be hopeful for any baseball fan. Well, it's easy until you see that you have a starting pitcher out there who isn't even good, much less great. There are five pitchers starting Thursday that it would be hard to even get very excited if you were seeing them on a normal day. Here they are:
5. Corey Kluber, Boston Red Sox
2022: 10-10, 4.34 ERA (with Tampa Bay Rays)
At least Kluber has a great resume. He's won two Cy Young Awards and has been to three All-Star Games. Unfortunately for Boston, he's no longer anything close to that guy anymore. He's become an average starting pitcher who can't strike guys out like he used to. In fairness, Kluber still has that great control but guys also make more contact on him then they used to.
I'm pretty surprised they aren't starting Chris Sale. The reasoning is they are trying to ease Sale into the season after he's only made 11 starts since 2020 and hasn't pitched 160 innings in a season since 2017.
4. Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates
2022: 5-12, 3.91 ERA
If Mitch Keller was a state, he'd be Delaware.
He's a fine starting pitcher. The Pirates are going to be pretty shitty this year and have to start someone. Keller probably is the best option. He'll be going up against Hunter Greene and the Cincinnati Reds on Opening Day. What an underwhelming way to start the season. This would be like someplace advertising Barstool Night and expecting Dave Portnoy and Big Cat. You get there and it's John Rich and I standing there.
3. Kyle Gibson, Baltimore Orioles
2022: 10-8, 5.05 ERA (with Texas Rangers)
I can understand Orioles fans getting excited about 2023 but they may need to pump the brakes a little. It's tough to make the playoffs with Kyle Gibson being the ace of your staff. This is where ownership has really let the team down. They've done a fantastic job building that farm system and creating a pipeline of exciting players like Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and DL Hall.
Imagine if the Angelos family had just done what the Texas Rangers did and brought in guys like Jacob deGrom and Nathan Eovaldi to bolster that pitching staff? That this team is trying to be competitive on such a shoestring budget is cruel.
2. Patrick Corbin, Washington Nationals
2022: 6-19, 6.31 ERA
Since 2021, Patrick Corbin has gone 15-35 with a 6.05 ERA. He's led the league in losses in each of the past two years. I sort of feel bad for Corbin. Well as much as I can feel bad for someone making $24 million a year.
It must be so frustrating to have once been so good at something and having helped a team win a World Series only to have that talent go away. The Nationals are still looking at him as an innings eater and with him and Strasburg signed for this year and next year (Strasburg even has two more years beyond that), they aren't going to be competitive anyway.
But it must not be easy going out there every fifth day knowing you are totally outmatched when you were once so good.
1. Kyle Muller, Oakland A's
2022: 1-1, 8.03 ERA (with Atlanta Braves)
The A's are the worst team in baseball. I think they have a real shot at losing 120 games this year. Even with that being said, I didn't expect them having to turn to Muller. The original plan was to go with Paul Blackburn who was at least a slightly below average major league starter. He's no Mitch Keller but he's competent.
Then Blackburn tore a nail in his middle finger and the A's turn to Kyle Muller. This will only be Muller's 12th career start and he is a lifetime 3-5 with a 5.14 ERA. If it couldn't get any worse, any guesses what pitcher the A's will be facing on Opening Day?