One reason to look forward to Opening Day

No fooling, are you ready for Opening Day 2013?

The Royals will start the season against the White Sox in Chicago on April 1, and the acquisition of pitcher James Shields should have you excited for that day.

That’s because since 2000, the Royals’ opening day starters haven’t been coming off the best of seasons. Eight times, the Royals trotted out a starter with an ERA over 4.00.

In fact, in that span only one pitcher who started Opening Day has had a better ERA in their previous season than Shields. That would be Zack Greinke, of course, who was coming off a Cy Young season.

Shields, the presumptive Opening Day starter, was 15-10 last season with a 3.52 ERA.

Here is the list of Opening Day starters since 2000 with their previous season statistics:

2012: Bruce Chen, 12-8, 3.77 ERA

2011: Luke Hochevar, 6-6, 4.81 ERA

2010: Zack Greinke, 16-8, 2.16 ERA

2009: Gil Meche, 14-11, 3.98 ERA

2008: Gil Meche, 9-13, 3.67 ERA

2007: Gil Meche, 11-8, 4.48 ERA

2006: Scott Elarton, 11-9, 4.61 ERA

2005: Jose Lima, 13-5, 4.07 ERA

2004: Brian Anderson, 14-11, 3.78 ERA

2003: Runelvys Hernandez, 4-4, 4.36 ERA

2002: Jeff Suppan, 10-14, 4.37 ERA

2001: Jeff Suppan, 10-9, 4.94 ERA

2000: Jeff Suppan, 10-12, 4.53 ERA

Like Shields, Lima, Elarton and Meche (in 2007) had all pitched the previous season for another team. Lima was with the Dodgers, Elarton with the Indians and Meche with the Mariners. Anderson is 2004 had come to the Royals from the Indians in a trade in August, 2003 when the Royals were trying to stay in the playoff race. Those are the kinds of trades Royals fans would like to see the team make again next year.

| Pete Grathoff, pgrathoff@kcstar.com