Who will Start Opening Day for the Brewers?


For the last five years, the Milwaukee Brewers have had the same starting pitcher on Opening Day.  With the trade earlier this week that sent Yovani Gallardo to the Texas Rangers for three prospects, the Crew will have to send someone new to start the season off.

Over the past five years, Gallardo has had some mixed results on his Opening Day starts.  He has personally posted a record of 1-2 with a 4.55 ERA, while the Brewers have gone 2-3 over these same 5 starts.  One would think that the new top of the rotation guy, Kyle Lohse, will likely be the one that gets the Opening Day nod, barring any further moves from the Brewers front office.

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Lohse has had some success on opening day.  In 2008, Lohse pitched 5 scoreless innings, while picking up a no-decision, and in 2012 pitched 7.1 innings, while surrendering just one earned run and picking up the victory.  Both starts were as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.  Lohse had a decent year last year, as well, going 13-9 with a 3.54 ERA in 31 starts for the Brewers.  Lohse would be the likely candidate after pitching second in the rotation last year, right behind Gallardo.  He also started the season pretty hot going 4-1 in the month of April.

Matt Garza, who went 8-8 with a 3.64 ERA last season in 27 starts for the Brewers, has never started a game on Opening Day, but should be in the conversation.  As the Brewers second highest paid player, and highest paid pitcher, making $12,209,425 last season, Garza was stellar for home starts.  He finished 6-4 with a 2.83 ERA at home.  Given the Brewers open up at Miller Park this season, this information should be considered.

Wily Peralta took an enormous leap in the right direction last season and came one step closer to turning into the ace that he is widely speculated of becoming.  He finished the season with a 17-11 record and a 3.53 ERA and was one bad month away from being a 20 game winner.  In May, Wily posted a 1-4 record in 6 starts but followed that up by winning all five of his starts in June.  The Brewers could show their faith in Peralta by giving him the Opening Day nod, but this would most likely be labeled as unconventional given his 2014 salary of only $515,000.

In a move that shocked many, possibly even the player himself, the Brewers added Dontrelle Willis to a minor league deal earlier this week.  Willis, who hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since 2011, does have some Opening Day experience; picking up a no-decision in 2006 and a win in 2007, both while a member of the Florida Marlins. He is an unknown commodity at this point, however, and there’s a high likelihood he isn’t even on the team come April.

While there may not be one game that is bigger than any other over the course of a 162 game schedule, teams are always looking to start off their season on the right foot.  Come April 6, that’s exactly what the Brewers will be trying to do, regardless of who takes the mound.  If it were up to me, the nod would go to Wily Peralta, but we will still have to wait another 73 days to find out what Ron Roenicke thinks.