Here's something I never would've expected to write a month ago: Marco Estrada and Erick Almonte made strong cases for their inclusion on the Opening Day roster today.
First, let's talk about Estrada. In his first start of the spring, he made one of the better cases we've seen for a spot at the end of the rotation. He shut the Padres out today for 4.1 innings, striking out four while allowing three hits and one walk. Mitch Stetter, Sean Green, Mark DiFelice, Kameron Loe and John Axford combined to allow just one hit over the remaining 4.2 innings.
Almonte, meanwhile, just keeps hitting. Starting at first base today in place of Prince Fielder, Almonte singled, doubled and doubled again in his three at bats, driving in two runs and pushing his batting average for the spring well over .400.
With the exception of Almonte the Brewers sent what may very well be the Opening Day lineup against the Padres, and got great results. When most of the regulars left the game after the seventh inning the Crew had scored seven runs on 12 hits. George Kottaras added a triple in the eighth to complete a three hit day. Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt also had multi-hit games.