Update: The Rays finished with 16 strikeouts, finalizing the new record.
Pirates starter Francisco Liriano impressed with a 10-strikeout performance against the Cardinals on Opening Day Sunday afternoon. Rays starter Chris Archer topped it, striking out 12 in five innings of work against the Blue Jays, helping set a new franchise record for Opening Day strikeouts, per MLB.com’s Bill Chastain. Enny Romero struck out one in an inning of relief after Archer left. As the game is ongoing, any additional strikeouts will further increase the record. Archer is the first pitcher with 12 strikeouts on Opening Day since Felix Hernandez in 2007, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
The Rays, as a team, struck out 11 batters on Opening Day last season against the Orioles. Archer started that game as well, striking out out five in 5 2/3 innings. The bullpen got the remaining six strikeouts. Archer also owns the club’s individual Opening Day strikeout record, surpassing David Price (2011) and Steve Trachsel (2000), who each struck out seven in their respective starts.
Despite Archer’s performance, the Rays trailed 3-1 when he left the game. Edwin Encarnacion ripped a two-run single in the first inning and Kevin Pillar added an RBI single in the fourth. The Rays’ run came on an Evan Longoria single in the third.