Previewing the Brewers vs Cubs series
By Benjamin Orr
Well, that was a fun Opening Day weekend…right? I’m not much of a fireworks person as it is, and Friday just made my stomach turn. The disastrous 4th inning for Yovani Gallardo seemed endless, but that was all temporarily forgotten when Saturday came about. Zack Greinke completely shut down the Cardinals. On Saturday, Greinke went seven innings, allowing four hits and striking out seven. It was a pretty terrific start for Greinke, but not so much for Gallardo. Then yesterday happened…to be fair, yesterday’s 9-3 loss cannot be solely blamed on Randy Wolf. While he did seem to struggle, a pitch count of 108 through only five innings of work, he did manage to strike out seven and only walk one. Wolf allowed three runs on nine hits. What scares me (and yes I know it’s very early) is how the bullpen just imploded. Every guy that pitched (Marco Estrada, Tim Dillard, John Axford and Kameron Loe) all allowed earned runs. Yikes, and I thought Friday’s loss was bad…but hey at least Ryan Braun is back in form as he hit his first home run. Okay so maybe the Cards were a bit of challenge, but it’s a new day. Tonight, we begin our first road game of the season and open up our series at Chicago with the Cubs (1-2). Let’s hope we can pull a win out here.
So looking at tonight’s match up, Shaun Marcum will make his season debut against Cubs’ righty Chris Volstad. Volstad who was with the Marlins last year had a pretty average season last year, going 12-9 with an ERA of 4.58 and 117 strikeouts in 165.2 innings pitched. Last year was Shaun Marcum’s first year in transition to the NL after pitching for the Blue Jays for five years. Marcum did pretty well last year in a Brewers’ rotation that seemed to just get the job done. Marcum had a 13-7 record with a 3.54 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 200.2 innings pitched. The pitching aspect of this series, and more importantly tonight’s game, will be very similar. While I do give Milwaukee the advantage in the overall series, if the bullpen continues to let runners score, it’s going to be a very long first week. Aside from Gallardo, we’ve gotten a fantastic start from Greinke and a so-so start from Wolf. Marcum’s test is next and guys to watch for as always with the Cubs are Alfonso Soriano, Starlin Castro, Marlon Byrd, Reed Johnson and the newly acquired David DeJesus.
Offensively, this game is a return to Chicago for Aramis Ramirez, who played with the Cubs from 2003 to 2011. Seeing the crowd’s reaction to him may be not as bad as it will when Ryan Braun takes his first at bat. In my head, I can just hear the crowd’s boos for Braun, but it’s to be expected. Even if this whole thing in the off season did not happen, I still think with Braun winning the MVP regardless, he’d get booed pretty heavily. Corey Hart has been off to a pretty good start, considering tomorrow was his original scheduled date to come back from his injury, but fortunately he was able to make the Opening Day roster, something he was unable to do last year. Hart hit two home runs off of Adam Wainwright in Saturday’s 6-0 win and looks as strong as ever. The Cubs power has been coming from mainly Soriano and Castro, something especially Castro left off from last year. As one of the younger players in the game, Castro has time to develop as a premiere shortstop, perhaps even to the level of Troy Tulowitzki.
Tuesday’s match up will have Brewers’ Chris Narveson against Cubs’ Paul Maholm, who was acquired from the Pirates in the off season. Wednesday’s afternoon game (starts at 2:20 PM EST/ 1:20 PM CST) will feature a match up of both teams’ number one starters, Brewers’ Yovani Gallardo and Cubs’ Ryan Dempster. After this series, we won’t face the Cubs until May 11th, which is in Milwaukee. The only injury for the Brewers is just Brooks Conrad, who is day-to-day. For the Cubs’, Blake Dewitt, Bryan LaHair and Kerry Wood are all day-to-day and Marcos Mateo is on the 60 day-DL. Tonight’s game is on ESPN at 7:00 PM EST/6:00 PM CST for those of you who do not live in either areas. This should be a good and competitive series for both teams, but once again, go Brewers!
Until next time guys and gals.