Opening Day Shutout a Rare Thing

The Dodger 5-0 win over the Giants Tuesday was one of only 10 Opening Day shutouts recorded by the Dodgers since the Brooklyn/Los Angeles franchise opened National League play in 1890. Four of them came while in Brooklyn, all on the road, and the final six, five of which were in Dodger Stadium, were crafted in Los Angeles.

The first came in 1909 when Irvin "Kaiser" Wilhelm dumped the New York Giants 3-0 in a 13 inning game that saw the Dodgers get their first hit in the 10th inning. He was 16-22 in his rookie season with a 1.87 record but won only six more games the next two years.

Nap Rucker earned the second the following season, 1910, beating Philadelphia 2-0. Rucker, who is third on the Dodger list with 38 shutouts, was considered the best lefthander in the National League for a number of years but was saddled with such a poor team throughout his career that his record with Brooklyn was only 135-136.

Jess Petty filled in for Brooklyn ace Dazzy Vance in the 1926 opener and allowed only Frank Frisch's double in the eighth inning while winning 3-0.

The fourth home shutout, and the final one while the team was in Brooklyn was pitched by Whitlow Wyatt in 1940 when he let them down 4-0.

Sandy Koufax pitched a 4-0 shutout against St. Louis in 1964. Koufax joined the Dodgers. Koufax recorded 40 shutouts between 1955 and 1966, but inexplicably,this was his only opening day start.

Don Sutton, who holds the Dodger record with 52 shutouts over his Hall of Fame career, pitched his only opening day job in 1974 against the San Diego Padres.

The story of Fernando Valenzuela's opening day masterpiece in 1981 is legend. Filling in for an injured Jerry Reuss, the rookie made his first start a good one, blanking Houston 2-0. He went on to win the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award the same year as the Dodgers rolled to a World Championship.

Chan Ho Park stopped Houston 1-0 -- the only 1-0 opening day win in Dodger history -- in 2001 with the single run being provided by Gary Sheffield. This was the first shared shutout, with Jeff Shaw nailing down the win in relief.

Hideo Nomo worked the only opening day shutout on the road in 2003, blanking Arizona 8-0 and would go on to a 16-13 record.

Dodger standouts who never had an opening day shutout and their career shutout record includes Don Drysdale (49), Dazzy Vance (30), Claude Osteen (34) and Mr. Shutout himself, Orel Hershiser who had 24 during his great career but none of them came in the first game of the season.

Gagné Still Struggles
Eric Gagné had a tough 2007 season, recording a 7.50 ERA after his trade to the Boston Red Sox. The former Dodger closer, who had 84 consecutive saves while with Los Angeles, signed with Milwaukee in the off-season but his first-game results were not as desired, blowing a three-run lead in his Brewers debut by serving up a game-tying three-run homer to Kosuke Fukudome of the Cubs.

Gagné posted a 2.16 ERA and 29-to-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 33.1 innings while converting 16-of-17 save chances for Texas but didn't survive the trip to New England. But don't expect the Brewers to give up on him any time soon after making a $10 million commitment.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Right-hander Rudy Seanez, who was released by the Dodgers last week, has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. He will be activated prior to the Phillies' home game today against the Washington Nationals. ... Tony Abreu's move to the disabled list is retroactive to March 26. Garciaparra's, LaRoche's and Jason Schmidt's stints on the DL are retroactive to March 20. ...The payroll for the Dodgers' 25-man roster is $94.1 million, and the four players on the disabled list are due to make $21.3 million this year. ...The exhibition game at the Coliseum on Saturday night raised more than $2 million for the Dodgers' cancer-fighting charity, ThinkCure.

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