Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
For the fifth consecutive season, Yovani Gallardo will take the mound on Opening Day.
Milwaukee Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke made the announcement prior to the team’s spring training game against the San Diego Padres on Thursday.
“Yovani is going to pitch Opening Day,” Roenicke said via Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. “I think with him being on this club for a long time, with having the success that he’s had, we feel like he should be the guy that starts it. And Kyle was fine with it, Garza was fine with it.”
Gallardo will become the first pitcher in team history to start on five consecutive Opening Days. Ben Sheets started six total, but they were not consecutive. Gallardo is 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA in his career on Opening Day.
Roenicke’s decision may come as a surprise to some fans. Gallardo did not have his best season in 2013 (12-10, 4.18 ERA), and many thought he would be traded before the 2014 season. This is not lost on Gallardo, as the right-hander knows this season will be his most important.
“Coming into spring, we all know I didn’t have the year I wanted to have last year. … I just showed up here in Spring Training ready to go,” Gallardo said. “This is going to be a big year for me. I have something to prove.”
“Having the opportunity to do it the last few years definitely helps,” Gallardo said. “You just have to go out there and perform. The first inning, the first few pitches … there’s a lot of extra adrenaline but you have to calm down, go out there and continue to make pitches.”
As of now, Lohse will follow Gallardo in the rotation with Garza as the No. 3 pitcher.