The 2011 Cleveland Indians will be remembered historically. Shocked? Well, you probably won’t be once I tell you this: they will be remembered for a bad thing. Fausto Carmona, the Opening Day starter, is just the 5th starter to give up at least 10 earned runs in his team’s first game of the season. Talk about setting a tone for the season. Here are the other men on this esteemed list:
- Vern Kennedy (1937 White Sox)- The worst start belongs to this man, who went just 4.1 innings and gave up a whopping 14 hits and 11 earned runs. He actually had a better day at the plate, where he went 1-2 with an RBI. Normally, when you score 10 runs as a team, you can expect to win. Not this day, though, as the South Siders lost 15-10.
- George Earnshaw (1932 Athletics)- The second-worst start consisted of 4.0 not-so-solid innings, with 8 hits and 10 earned runs. He gave up 4 times as many homers as strikeouts (4 to 1), and walked 2. Ouch. He also struck out in his only at-bat, just for good measure. They lost 12-6.
- Early Wynn (1948 Senators)- Easily the most surprising name on the list, Wynn is of course the same guy who is in the Hall of Fame as an Indian. Thankfully, he didn’t do it in an Indians uniform, as this was the year they won the World Series. He went 8.1 innings and gave up 10 earned (12 runs), 16 hits, and a pair of jacks. Amazingly, this day was the only time he ever gave up 10 runs in a game in his career.
- Oral Hidlebrand (1937 Browns)- I was kind of surprised that only one Brown makes the list, since they are the franchise that best embodies ineptitude. Oral has the distinction of pitching the best of these 5 games. He pitched the entire 9.0 innings, surrendered 17 hits and 10 earned runs. In a prime example of how overrated the stat is, he actually earned the “W” for this game. He contributed at the plate, going 1-3 with a pair of runs and RBIs. Ready for the knockout punch? Hildebrand and the Browns bested Kennedy and the White Sox above on this day, April 21st, 1937.
The Tribe tried to make it all better with a comeback after falling down 14-0, but their effort fell short at 15-10. Maybe 2011 will hold better things for the Indians. The teams above ended their years with the following records: 86-68, 94-60, 56-97, 46-108. The first two are well above .500, while the last two are well below .500. So, such a start doesn’t necessarily guarantee a bad year.