After Carlos Zambrano got the Opening Day nod six straight seasons, it was kind of a big deal--symbolically, at least--when Quade announced that Ryan Dempster would get the ball on the first day of the 2011 season. It certainly seemed reasonable--Dempster averaged 14 wins over the last three seasons, whereas Zambrano struggled mightily in several of his Opening Day opportunities.
Dempster not alone among Cubs' Opening Day starters to start slow
Through seven starts, Dempster was monumentally awful. He posted one win and had the highest ERA among qualified pitchers in the majors. He allowed nine home runs; the Giants as a team had allowed 14. Suffice to say, being named the Opening Day starter did not magically transform Dempster into an ace, at least early on.
It seems that he may have finally turned things around after two good outings last week. But given how historically bad Dempster's start was, I wanted to take a look back at some other Cubs' Opening Day starters who failed to shine in the season's first month. You'll notice that none of them are quite as bad as what we saw from Demp this April.