Finally! The best day of the year arrived! What is better than opening day with temperatures in the low 60s after a long, cold winter?! The smell of grilled out brats and burgers filled the air while people threw bags and drank some quality Miller Lite (stop reading this you Bud Light drinkers). Of course, the main event did not disappoint with the Brewers pulling out the 5-4 victory. Here are some initial thoughts on
the first game of 2019.
Is it still 2018?
The Crew came out looking exactly like 2018. Chacin pitches 5 1/3 innings giving up 3 ER but gave the team a chance to win, Yelich hits a dinger (did I hear an MVP chant already), and of course there is Lo Cain robbing home runs like the thief he is saving the victory in the end. There is also Josh Hader looking nearly unhittable (except for Martinez) and striking out four batters in two innings of work. This looks very similar to 2018, which is a good sign for things to come.
It may have worked now…
Aside from giving up back to back home runs in the 2nd inning, Chacin was pretty on point. Hader looked to be his normal self and Guerra did well aside from the home run he allowed. While Guerra pitches to contact, the average exit velocity of the 7 balls in play was a respectable 82.5 mph. Traditionally a groundball pitcher, however, 5 of the 7 balls put in play were in the air. Again, small sample so nothing really to take seriously here. Hader did well, but this was the first game of a loooong 162 game season. They need to have a full, healthy bullpen which today they did not have. In addition, looking ahead there are three straight games coming up which will be started by rookies. While they are talented and could be good, there is a lack of experience and worry about health. An addition of Kimbrel and/or Keuchel should not be ruled out.
Oh, listen to that offense purr!
Yeah, so the pitcher even hit a dinger and had a 2-2 day with an average exit velocity of 99.8 mph. Yelich and Moustakas added in long balls of their own. Some guys like Shaw and Aguilar, while not contributing in the hit column, hit the ball hard. The two balls put in play by Aguilar averaged to a 96.1 mph exit velocity. Shaw also averaged over 90 mph with the three balls he put in play. Aguilar will need to lay off the off speed on the bottom outer quadrant of the plate. He whiffed on four pitches there today and continued to chase out of the zone. He whiffed 13% of the time last year and this is where it happened:
Overall the offense looked solid today. There were some good at-bats and they saw a total of 127 pitches over the course of 8 innings.
Give him the Gold Glove today already. He made a diving catch in the 4th inning and then, of course, did this:
— MLB (@MLB) March 28, 2019
What better way to cap off opening day in Milwaukee?! It was a packed house with over 45,000 fans. An hour and twenty minutes before the game there was no street parking within 2 miles of the parking lot! This looks like a good sign for the Brewers and the city of Milwaukee. There is much excitement around the team this year and this Opening Day win will surely bring people back to the park. Time to move onto game 2/162 where rookie Freddy Peralta takes the mound hoping to help the team get off to a 2-0 start.