The following games are Opening Day starts by pitchers with a Game Score as bad as or lower than the 17 put up by Zack Greinke last night, for teams that still went on to make the post-season that year. Feel free to wave this any Debbie Downers you may encounter this afternoon...
1993: Jack Morris, Blue Jays
1-8 vs Mariners. 4.1 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO, Game Score 13
Toronto got off to an awful start in 1993. Just like the Diamondbacks last night, they actually scored first, but Seattle then took charge, beginning with a three-run homer in the first inning from Ken Griffey Jr. It has to be said, Morris had a bad year, going 7-12 with an ERA above six, but that didn't stop the Blue Jays who took the AL East with a 95-67 record, and won the World Series in six games over the Phillies.
1998: Charles Nagy, Indians
10-9 vs. Mariners. 4.2 IP, 12 H, 9 R, 9 ER. 2 BB, 3 SO, Game Score 5
The worst Opening Day start ever by a playoff bound team, but Cleveland actually managed to win this one. No thanks to Nagy though, who blew open a 3-3 tie with a six run fifth, going deep four times off the Indians' starter. However, Cleveland scored three in the six and four in the eighth to get Nagy off the hook. They took the AL Central with 89 wins, and went down to the Yankees in six games of the ALCS.
1998: Kevin Tapani, Cubs
6-11 vs. Marlins, 2 IP, 7 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, Game Score 6
The same day also say the second-worst Openinf Day start ever by a playoff bound team, Tapani being lifted without retiring a batter in the third. He was staked to a three-run lead in the first, but gave up four runs without recording an out, and nine of the 15 batters he faced reached base safely. Still, Tapani was good enough to win 19 games for the Cubs that season, though they were swept by the Braves in the Division Series.
2002: Roger Clemens, Yankees
3-10 vs. Orioles, 4.1 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 8 ER,. 5 BB,.4 SO, Game Score 16
After the drama that was the 2001 World Series, the Yankees' attempt to five-peat at American League pennant winners got off to a terrible start at Camden Yards. Clemens started well, and New York had a 1-0 edge after three, However, a grand-slam by Tony Batista turned the tide, and a three-run double by future D-back Melvin Mora chased Clemens from the game. Still, no team won more than the Yankees' 103 games.
2005: Woody Williams, Padres
10-12 vs. Rockies, 3.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, Game Score 17
O HAI Coors Field, where else can you score 10 runs on Opening Day and still lose? (something which has only happened once in the NL since this contest). San Diego actually had a chance to win this one taking a 10-8 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but Trevor Hoffman allowed four runs, all with two outs, including a walk-off homer to Clint Barmes. The Padres still won the West, albeit with the lowest win total ever (82).
2005: John Smoltz, Braves
0-9 vs. Marlins. 1.2 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO, Game Score 16
Oddly, two of the three NL division champs that year had Opening Day meltdowns, and this one tied for the shortest outing of Smoltz's 446 career starts. A five-run first inning included a grand slam from Juan Encarnacion, and Smoltz was lifted without completing the second. Meanwhile, Josh Beckett spun six shutout innings of two-hit ball, but Atlanta had the last laugh, their 90 wins still taking the NL East for the eleventh consecutive year.
2006; Barry Zito, Athletics
2-15 vs. Yankees, 1.1 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO, Game Score 17
Going up against some guy called Randy Johnson, Zito managed to record only four outs, the Yankees sending 12 to the plate in the second inning. Zito was lifted after the eighth man, Alex Rodriguez homered with the bases loaded (above), but New York weren't finished, piling up what remains the biggest Opening Day margin of victory in the American League since 1955. Oakland still made it to the ALCS, before being swept by Detroit.
2008: Mark Buehrle, White Sox
8-10 vs. Cleveland, 1.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, Game Score 13
Another seven-run second inning here, also responsible for all seven hits and the walk Buehrle allowed before being lifted. However, he escaped with a no-decision, because Chicago clawed their way back to tie this one at seven by the seventh-inning stretch, although Octavio Dotel took the loss with a three-run eighth, and D-backs analyst Joe Borowski got the save for the Indians. Chicago won the Central, Buehrle going 15-12.
It has been a while, admittedly. The worst Opening Day start for a playoff team since the above was C.C. Sabathia in 2009 (Game Score 18) and Aaron Cook posted a 20 for the Rockies, against the Diamondbacks, in 2010. The good news is, no matter the scale, scope or - per Chip Hale - the media hype surrounding the defeat, it still only counts as one in the standings. We are one game out of first place in the National League West, with 161 to play. it isn't what happened last night which will determine the success or failure of this season: it's what happens over the next six months.