Jonathan Trey Brubaker, better known as JT Brubaker to fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Brubaker opened the season for the Buccos on Thursday vs. St. Louis, allowing four earned runs in three innings pitched, and is now the team’s seventh different opening day starter since 2016.
When you look at Brubaker’s ERA in ’21, you might start to cringe at the thought that the Pirates think he’s the best the team has to offer in terms of a starter. Last year Brubaker posted a 5.37 ERA, and for his career, he carries a 5.36 ERA in 174.2 innings pitched.
So here we are, rock bottom. Can we sink any lower than rock bottom? Maybe, let’s look at other past opening day starters and compare their ERAs until we find someone who was worse in that category.
2021- Chad Kuhl: 4.82 ERA
2020- Joe Musgrove: 3.86 ERA
2019- Jameson Taillon: 4.10 ERA
2018- Ivan Nova: 4.19 ERA
2017- Gerrit Cole: 4.26 ERA
2016- Francisco Liriano: 4.69 ERA
2015- Francisco Liriano: 3.38 ERA
2014- Francisco Liriano: 3.38 ERA
2013- A.J. Burnett: 3.30 ERA
2012- Erik Bedard: 5.01 ERA
2011- Kevin Correia: 4.79 ERA
2010- Zach Duke: 5.72 ERA
(Whew that’s a lot of names)
This is in no way poking fun at Brubaker, baseball is hard, and to be fair, Brubaker started off rock-solid in ’21 and fell off after fatigue started to set in. Towards July, opponents started to hammer the ball off Brubaker with home run numbers dipping up, and the lowest OPS against from July on was .834.
So yes, things are bleak when you have a team throwing Brubaker out as your opening day starter, but a wise man once said, “you can only go up from here.” Brighter times are sure to come, but it’s pretty damn dark right now in Pirate land, folks.