Most teams will use their best starter for Opening Day, the second best on the second day, etc. through the rotation.

Except when other factors intervene; for instance, the White Sox ace Chris Sale pitched the Sox' fourth game, because injuries meant that he wasn't ready for Opening Day. And the Pirates' Francisco Liriano, who pitched Opening Day, took paternity leave and pitched the fourth game of the following series.

My understanding is that while aces are better than "backenders"on the same team, they don't necessarily have better records, because they pitch against other aces, while backenders pitch against other backenders. Does this hold through a season, or do "rotational" factors allow aces to sometimes pitch against backenders? And do aces' win-loss records in fact, improve, when they are pitted against backenders?

  • There is the possibility that there record would improve, based solely on the fact that the back end of the rotation might be easier on the pitchers offense. I'm not sure there's actually a way you could prove this per say, but if you're just talking W/L record, then yes, it's more likely they'd improve those numbers. Ace's definitely start some games against other teams back end guys, because schedules don't always match up, etc.
    – New-To-IT
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


All baseball teams have different off days and schedules. Also there is a random amount of rain outs and other things that come up. By week 3-4 of the baseball season you will hardly ever see a #1vs#1, #2vs#2, #3vs#3.

In fact how coaches are using advanced statistics throw this off even more. So if the Cubs are playing a team of right handed hitters and they have lefty, righty, lefty, coming up for the next three games. Well the manager might decide to throw out a righty in game one (6th starter) so that the team has two RHP for the series vs. one. Also some pitchers pitch better at home or away and are often moved back a day to accommodate this.

The fact is to answer this question you could write a book of examples and stats. There is just no way after the first few weeks that any teams have rotations that consistently match up.

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