The Milwaukee Brewers have seen a lot of consistency in their Opening Day starters since the turn of the century. Erstwhile “aces” Ben Sheets and Yovani Gallardo have combined to start 11 of 15 Opening Days since 2000, with Gallardo getting tabbed for the each of the last five since 2010. Gallardo’s streak will end for the Brewers this season as he was traded to Texas in January (though it appears likely he will be the Rangers Opening Day starter), leaving some speculation as to who would start the Brewers regular season opener. Today, those questions were put to rest as Ron Roenicke named Kyle Lohse as the Brewers’ starter for Opening Day.
Lohse has been worth every penny of his $33 mil dollar contract so far for the Brewers, as he has posted a 24-19 record with a 3.45 ERA in his 63 starts with the Brewers over the last two years. Since coming to Milwaukee, he leads the Brewers in innings pitched (397.0), walks per nine innings (1.8 BB/9), and wins above replacement (5.8 WAR). Last season, Lohse was 13-9 with a 3.54 ERA in 198.1 innings pitched, posting a 141|45 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Manager Ron Roenicke had this to say of Lohse and his decision to start the 36 year old righty on Opening Day:
“I talked to Kyle the other day…He knew what we wanted him to do, but I just wanted to say something to him. Just his experience, the type of quality pitcher he’s been for a few years. Upstairs, he’s a solid guy.”
Lohse has some history with starting the season opener during his career, as well. Twice during his time in St. Louis, Lohse was tabbed to start on Opening Day: in 2008 and 2012. Lohse pitched five scoreless innings and took a no decision in the 2008 game against the Rockies, and picked up a win in 2012 after giving up one earned run and pitched into the eighth inning as the Cardinals defeated the Marlins.
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With confirmation that Lohse will get the start on Opening Day, the Brewers starting rotation should basically fall into line behind Kyle as it has been set up thus far in spring training. Matt Garza will follow Lohse as the team’s number two, with the trio of Wily Peralta, Mike Fiers, and Jimmy Nelson rounding out the final three rotation slots in that order.
The Milwaukee Brewers will open the regular season on April 6th, with Kyle Lohse set to face off against the Colorado Rockies at Miller Park.