The Milwaukee Brewers kicked off the 2013 season in dramatic fashion with a 5-4 walk-off win against the Colorado Rockies. The win came via a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning by Jonathan Lucroy or as inhabitants of Miller Park call him – Luuuuuuuuuuuuuu. It sure was an exciting day at Miller Park.
Now, it’s time for first impressions.
Yovani Gallardo‘s struggles on opening day continued as he gave up three runs on ten hits in just five innings of work. In four opening day starts, Gallardo is 0-2 with an abysmal ERA of 5.81. He had trouble locating his curveball today and when that happens, his effectivness dwindles. He gave up home runs to Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez before being pulled. Gallardo is not a true ace. I’ve been saying this for years now but I continue to be ridiculed. An ace pitcher is someone who constantly takes over games and has the ability to completely shut out a team. From what we have seen, Gallardo is not capable of doing that. He’s a very good pitcher but calling him an ace is like saying Joe Flacco deserves to be the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. Luckily for Yo, his offense battled back and he avoided starting the season 0-1.
Ron Roenicke‘s revamped bullpen looked fantastic. Alfredo Figaro, the last pitcher added to the major league roster, pitched two scoreless innings allowing only one hit and striking out two. His powerful fastball showed why Roenicke went with him over Donovan Hand. Newly-acquired Burke Badenhop and Jim Henderson also impressed. Badenhop struck out two without allowing a hit in his inning of work while Henderson worked a clean 10th inning and ended up collecting the win. Now on to John Axford. Yes, he blew the save by giving up a two-out bomb to Dexter Fowler but he dominated the 9th inning. He really did. Axford struck out the first two batters he faced before allowing the home run. He then concluded the inning by striking out Josh Rutledge. He only threw one bad pitch that Fowler took advantage of. You may think this is crazy after today, but I am extremely confident in Axford. Don’t turn on him yet, Brewers fans.
Milwaukee’s bats were slow to come alive today as they only collected three hits against Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin. However, Norichika Aoki started the season strong with a home run that barely escaped the fence. It wasn’t until the 8th inning that the Brewers showed some life. Down 3-1, the Brewers accumulated four hits and three runs including a two-RBI double by Aramis Ramirez that gave them the lead. The Crew finished with eight hits, two apiece from Ramirez, Rickie Weeks (who I predicted to be an All-Star in 2013) and Jean Segura. Roenicke has to be pleased with Ramirez’s production as he is a notoriously slow-starter in April. Khristopher Davis made his major league debut but failed to record his first hit as he sharply grounded out. While the Brewers struck out eight times, they did show some patience at the plate, walking five times. It wasn’t a memorable day at the plate, but they did enough to get the job done and that’s all that matters.
As it is now, Milwaukee’s offense will be one of the best in the National League. When Corey Hart returns, they will be up there with the top arsenals in the American League.
The Brewers will try to win the series against the Rockies tomorrow at 7:10. Hopefully, Marco Estrada will fare better than Gallardo.