This afternoon, Barry Enright became the thirteenth major-league pitcher to debut by making a start for the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was a successful outing, Enright picking up the W as the visitors defeated the St. Louis Cardinals by a margin of 4-2. He did walk rather too many people, though is hardly alone there in recent Diamondbacks history, but only one Cardinals player crossed home-plate on Barry's watch.
Turns out, using Bill James' Game Score metric, to be the best such opening game by a Diamondback in over three years, since Micah Owings got his career under way with five innings of one-hit ball in April 2007. After the jump, we'll list off all the other dozen.
|1||Geraldo Guzman||2000-07-06||HOU||W 2-1||W||8.0||4||1||1||1||3||0||93||61||72|
|2||Micah Owings||2007-04-06||WSN||W 7-1||W||5.0||1||0||0||3||6||0||96||54||68|
|3||Enrique Gonzalez||2006-05-28||CIN||L 4-5||6.0||3||1||1||1||4||1||86||53||65|
|4||John Patterson||2002-07-20||SDP||W 7-1||6.0||3||1||1||2||4||1||85||52||64|
||Cesar Valdez||2010-05-03||HOU||W 9-1||W||5.0||5||1||1||3||2||0||96||59||52|
||Dustin Nippert||2005-09-08||PIT||L 7-8||5.0||5||3||3||2||2||0||70||48||45|
||Nelson Figueroa||2000-06-03||TEX||L 3-4||L||6.1||7||4||4||1||2||1||93||57||44|
||Bryan Augenstein||2009-05-13||CIN||L 3-10||L||6.1||8||5||5||2||3||0||95||64||38|
||Edgar Gonzalez||2003-06-01||SDP||W 10-4||W||5.2||10||3||3||3||4||1||101||61||38|
|11||Nick Bierbrodt||2001-06-07||LAD||W 13-9||2.0||5||6||6||3||3||1||66||39||22|
|12||Lance Cormier||2004-06-19||TBD||L 4-11||L||1.1||6||7||7||1||0||1||41||21||13|
|13||Casey Daigle||2004-04-09||STL||L 6-13||L||2.2||10||8||8||0||0||5||49||35||6|
As you can see, Enright is the fifth debutant to get the W in their first game - only Guzman went on to record a W in his second start as well, however. A couple of players you might think have been omitted - Brandon Webb and Max Scherzer. However, neither of these actually started in their first game. Webb pitched mop-up duty in the ninth innings of a loss in Montreal, while Scherzer had a more memorable appearance, retiring all 13 batters faced, including seven by strikeout, in 4.1 perfect innings of relief against the Astros. For the record, however, the Game Scores in their first starts were 80 and 29 respectively.
Amusing, if appropriate to note that the two worst debuts of all time by an Arizona starter both came in 2004. Daigle's was truly appalling, and his performance that season - a 7.16 ERA over 49 innings - is among the all-time most ineffective. It's Exhibit A for anyone who reckons Cactus League stats are meaningful, because that spring, the two best ERAs (min. 15 IP) were Daigle and Steve Sparks, whose ERA in the regular season was also above six. Thus far, Enright has certainly been better than either, and on the basis of this showing (obviously, small sample size, blah blah), would seem to represent a better option for the rotation than Dontrelle Willis.