Finally, Opening Day is now upon us. We’ve labored through the snow, cold and gray months for this day to come. Now, all the projections and speculation goes out the window, the show is here.
Today, the Milwaukee Brewers will be visited by the NL West Colorado Rockies in both teams’ first game of the season. Let’s get into it!
For both the Rockies and Brewers, 2013 will look to be a year in which the teams can expand upon their pitching and rely on their heavy powered offenses. The teams met six times last year with the Rockies emerging victorious 5-1 in the games. This season, the teams will meet again six times.
Colorado is coming off of one of the worst years in franchise history since 2005. Last season, the team went 64-98 and finished in last place in the NL West. While the Rockies had a very potent and dangerous line-up, their pitching, which ranked 30th in all categories, sunk their ship. The team hasn’t really been able to replace the traded Ubaldo Jimenez, but has been starting to fall back on younger pitchers to help carry the load that remains. The acquisition of Jon Garland should also help improve the starting rotation. Rex Brothers has tried to help the transition smooth a little bit for the bullpen as he had a great 2012, going 8-2 with a 3.49 ERA. Rafael Betancourt will look to make the closer role his once again in 2013 coming off of his 31-save 2012.
On the opposite side of the ball, the Rockies have been able to put up some pretty devastating numbers across the board. It wasn’t Troy Tulowitzki or Todd Helton leading the team, it was rookies Wilin Rosario (catcher) and Jordan Pacheco (third base) who helped lead the team in batting average and home runs. All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez led the team in RBIs, runs scored and OPS. Second baseman Josh Rutledge will also look to do some damage as he hit .275 with eight homers and 37 RBIs at shortstop last season in place of the injured Tulowitzki.
Overall for the Rockies, they didn’t lose much of anything offensively except for Tyler Colvin who was optioned to Triple-A. Their pitching remains to be their biggest hill to climb, but if they can conquer that in 2013, look for them to make some real noise in the West. The new manager Walt Weiss hopes to take the team in the right direction.
Ahh yes, the home team and most importantly, our team. For this Brewer team who barely missed the playoffs last year going 83-79, we’ve talked all Spring Training on how they can improve their pitching and we speculated time and time again how they would formulate it after 2012′s disaster. Well, the management of the Brew Crew went out and surprised us all by actually signing not only bullpen help, but Kyle Lohse as well. Lohse was thought to have been in talks with Milwaukee before hand, but general manager Doug Melvin had made it clear they had no interest in him. Guess that changed. Also the team announced that it would be Mike Fiers and not Chris Narveson in the rotation, which came as another surprise for most fans. The newly formed bullpen headed by John Axford will look to rebound big time this season.
For the team offensively, Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez will look to be the heaviest of hitters in the line-up. Braun, who is coming off of a year where he came in second for the NL MVP voting, will help guide the offense. The emergence of guys like Jonathan Lucroy, Norichika Aoki and Carlos Gomez also help the high voltage offense as they ranked 3rd in runs scored last year with 776. Corey Hart will be out at least a month for the team and the re-signing of Alex Gonzalez will see him at first for the time being.
Overall, this is a Brewers’ team, much like the Rockies, that if they can figure out their pitching woes, they’ll be a legitimate contender in the National League. Manager Ron Roenicke has been the victim of criticism in years past, but he will look to move beyond that and focus on the job ahead in 2013.
This series will open up the season for both teams and will be played in Miller Park. Colorado’s starters are listed first followed by Milwaukee’s:
Good luck to the Rockies in this series, but go Brewers!