After a long and interesting off season, the Milwaukee Brewers will open up the 2018 season on Thursday, March 29th in San Diego against the Padres. Ever since the Brewers 2017 season ended in St. Louis, fans have been waiting for this day. Now it has finally come, and baseball is back..
Opening Day will be the first official game where we see the “new-look” Milwaukee Brewers. The name, of course, referring to the flurry of changes involving the outfielders this off season. The additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich fit very well on this team, and they will likely be the first two bats in the lineup..
There was a lot of talk about Ryan Braun potentially playing first base this off season. According to Adam McCalvy, Craig Counsell expects to use Braun at first base often against left handed pitchers. With a lefty Clayton Richard throwing for the Padres on Opening Day, Braun will start at first base.
That leaves Domingo Santana to play a corner outfield spot, and Eric Thames on the bench. Having Santana remain in the lineup is huge after his really good offensive season last year. But not having Thames be an everyday player isn’t the worst thing. It may help avoid long slumps.
The question is, can Braun be consistent at first base? Santana should hope so. But Thames, well, he should still get plenty of at bats either way. The majority will come against right handed pitching.
The other offensive starters will be similar to last season. Team MVP Travis Shaw at third, and rising star shortstop Orlando Arcia at shortstop are obvious. Manny Pina will be catching. Either Jonathan Villar, Eric Sogard or Hernan Perez will play second base. Second base will most likely be a position that is shared throughout the early part of the year. I wouldn’t read very far into who gets the start on Opening Day.
In terms of the Brewers pitching on opening day, the starter will be Chase Anderson. He certainly earned the spot after having a very good season last year. If Jimmy Nelson were healthy, you could argue he would get the spot. But either way Anderson is a front line starter, and his continued success will be essential for the Milwaukee Brewers this season.
The thing the Brewers most need from Anderson is just to stay healthy. He missed two months with an injury last season, and the rotation definitely missed him while he was gone. With Nelson already hurt, and no significant additions other than Jhoulys Chacin, health will be very important to this pitching staff.
The bullpen is always something that is fun to watch early in the year. There is no reason to worry about guys needing rest. The Milwaukee Brewers will be able to let guys like Josh Hader and Corey Knebel loose. That should be very fun to watch if they are in close games in San Diego or on the first home stand.
The Milwaukee Brewers, similar to last year, should be a very fun team to watch this year. An already good offensive team got even better, and it should lead to more runs scored. Oh, and of course, more home runs.
Sunny San Diego is a fun place to start the year, and everyone will be anxious to see how this team with newfound expectations kicks off the season. However, the Milwaukee Brewers first game at Miller Park will be after the San Diego series on April 2nd against the Cardinals. That series kicks off a six game home stand against them and the Cubs, a fun start to the year for the NL Central division.