After much anticipation, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Opening Day game is in the books as they came from behind to win 6-5 in extra innings! It was a long game that lasted over four hours in duration, but the fans were back in the stands to see a game that will rank right up there with some of the top Brewers’ Opening Day games in recent memory.
There are still 161 regular season games to go, but here are three instant reactions to today’s thrilling ball game.
1. Brandon Woodruff was not all that efficient, but he was also very unlucky on the mound today for the Brewers.
While starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff is likely disappointed in himself for only lasting four innings on Opening Day, he did still pitch well overall. In his four innings pitched, he allowed three earned runs, walked two batters, and struck out five. Three of his five strikeouts came via the slider and versus right-handed batters.
Unfortunately, left-handed hitters did all the damage against Woodruff’s changeup today. The wild pitch to Max Kepler was a changeup in the dirt. A few pitches later, in the same at bat, Kepler singled off a changeup and then the next inning, Luis Arraez singled off a changeup as well. Both of those hits came with two outs.
This Twins lineup is very talented offensively, and at times, Woodruff executed his normal gameplan of jumping ahead of hitters early and limiting his pitch count, but at other times he would just be missing the zone or batters would foul off tough pitches. I’d expect Woodruff to look more sharp in his next start.
2. Against right-handed starter Kenta Maeda, the Brewers offense displayed patience and delivered in key situations late in the game.
Although the offense only scored one run off of Twins starter Kenta Maeda today, this lineup displayed great patience against him. It took Maeda 88 pitches to get through 4 1/3 innings today and the Brewers’ first run of the season came via a bases loaded walk by Travis Shaw after an eight-pitch at bat. It helped that the Brewers drew three full counts against Maeda and often fouled off many tough pitches.
Unfortunately, the Brewers offense stopped hitting once Maeda left the game and the Twins bullpen retired 11 Milwaukee batters in a row at one point. This did all change once the ninth inning rolled around as Christian Yelich and Shaw each delivered key hits to tie the game at five. In the 10th, Orlando Arcia hit a chopper in the infield to score Lorenzo Cain from third base to secure the win.
The hope is that the Brewers can continue to display patience at the plate while delivering in clutch situations. They finished today 6 for 15 when hitting with runners in scoring position, which is a great recipe for success and drastically different from last season’s ballclub.
3. Josh Hader was able to find an extra gear on the mound today, which is insane to think about given how good he has already been for the Brewers!
In the 10th inning, Craig Counsell summoned Josh Hader to the mound to work through the Twins lineup and keep the game tied. He did just that by striking out the side and constantly pumping heaters anywhere from 97-100 MPH.
No, 100 MPH was not a typo. Hader has always been known as a high velocity pitcher, but rarely in the past, if ever, have we seen him reach triple digits. Perhaps the crowd cheering him on provided a boost of adrenaline in order to reach back and put some additional heat on the ball!
Opening Day is always one of the best days out of the year for baseball fans, but this year did have some extra meaning to it. With fans being allowed back in the stadium and the Brewers coming from behind to win in drastic fashion, we should cherish tonight and be excited that this team is going to keep us entertained all summer long.