As a Brewers fan and a baseball fan, Opening Day is one of the best days of the year.
On Opening Day, every team sends forth their best pitcher to the mound to kick off the start of the 162 game marathon of a season. All records are reset to 0-0 and fans are finally able to make their return to the ballpark after a long winter.
For the Brewers, this will be the franchise’s 54th opening day. They originally were supposed to begin the season at home on March 31 against the Diamondbacks, but due to a delay in coming to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, a new Opening Day was set for April 7 in Chicago against the rival Cubs.
As we prepare for the much anticipated start to the Brewers season, here are three fun facts to know before we get to Opening Day 2022.
1) Corbin Burnes will be the Brewers’ 33rd pitcher to start on Opening Day
After winning the NL Cy Young last season, it’s not a shock that Craig Counsell selected Burnes to take the hill on Opening Day. Over the past two seasons, it had been Brandon Woodruff to begin the year. Thankfully, Woodruff was able to end the dreaded Opening Day starter curse, but the baton is now being passed to Burnes and it is much deserved.
With this being Burnes’ first opening day start, he will become the Brewers 33rd different Opening Day starter. Ben Sheets is the franchise record holder in opening day starts with six. Yovani Gallardo is right behind him with five and then it is Teddy Higuera and Jim Slaton next with three a piece. Hopefully this is a start of many more to come for Burnes.
2) The Brewers and Cubs have met on Opening Day just two other times
Even though the I-94 rivalry runs deep, this will be just the third time that these two franchises have met on Opening Day. This is largely due to the Brewers being in the American League up until 1998 and the fact that interleague play was very scarce up until recently. Oddly enough, all Opening Day encounters, including this year’s, have taken place at Wrigley Field.
Record wise, the series is split at 1-1. The first matchup came in 2008 when a Tony Gwynn sac fly in the top of the 10th was the difference in a 4-3 Brewers victory. Most recently, the Cubs won 3-0 in 2020 as pitcher Kyle Hendricks went the distance and allowed just three hits. It would be great to see the Brewers return the favor this year!
3) Three out of the last four Opening Day games have been decided by one run
The Brewers have had some very memorable games over the past four years on Opening Day. In 2018, the Crew opened up against the Padres. The game went into extra innings and in the top of the 12th, with two outs, Ji Man Choi hit a double in which Orlando Arcia then followed up with a go ahead single to ultimately would be the deciding run in the game.
In 2019, the Brewers opened up at home against the Cardinals. The Brewers were holding on to a one run lead in the 9th with Josh Hader trying to close it out. With two outs, Jose Martinez hit a fly ball deep into right-center, but Lorenzo Cain ranged over, making a home run robbing catch to seal the game.
Lastly, was last year’s come from behind victory against the Twins. The Crew were down three runs entering the ninth inning and they battled back to send it to extra innings and a Orlando Arcia infield chopper ended up scoring Lorenzo Cain from third to win the game.
Three out of the four have been victories, including two walk off hits and one go ahead hit in the 12th inning.
Regardless of what happens, it will be great to just have baseball back. The Brewers have spoiled us by making the playoffs four years in a row, and Thursday will start their journey to extend that number to five.