Apr 5, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun (8), catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20), and right fielder Corey Hart (1) take their turn at the batting cage during a workout before the opening day game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
Some things to read while making it unanimous.
The bunting is up and we're just a few hours away from Opening Day at Miller Park (Mike Vassallo was there already at 6:30), so it's time for one last check of today's forecast: The Weather Channel says it will be 52 and sunny when the Brewers and Cardinals take the field this afternoon, with no chance of rain.
If you're planning on heading out to today's game, Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball has some advice for you to consider. Also, if you're planning on tailgating before today's game but you're still at home reading this, you're already late. Miller Park Drunk has also returned from Wrestlemania to offer a preview. Tap Milwaukee has some takeout options you could grab on your way to the park.
The Brewers have posted their lineup for today and it's about what you'd expect: Carlos Gomez is starting in center field against lefty Jaime Garcia. The only real surprise is near the bottom of the order, where Alex Gonzalez (sixth) is batting in front of both Mat Gamel and Jonathan Lucroy.
Jen Langosch and Adam McCalvy of MLB.com have a post on the renewal of the Brewer/Cardinal rivalry, which may or may not change now that Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols and Tony LaRussa are no longer a part of it. I answered a few questions for Viva El Birdos as part of their series preview, and we'll have their answers to our questions posted around noon today.
Yovani Gallardo gets the ball for the Brewers today, and J.P. Breen of Disciples of Uecker noted that they may not be the best opponent for his first outing of 2012. The 13 home runs he's allowed in eleven starts against St. Louis are easily his most against any opponent.
Expectations are high for the 2012 Brewers and this certainly won't lower them: Ryan Braun told Tom Haudricourt (linked via Twitter) that this is the most talented team he's ever been a part of. Braun, by the way, had baseball's eighth most popular jersey in 2011.
John Axford didn't record a save yesterday, but he did get this: When Jose Valverde blew the lead in the ninth inning of yesterday's Red Sox-Tigers game, it made Axford's streak of 43 consecutive saves the longest active run in baseball. It's also the fifth longest streak in major league history.
Jonathan Lucroy probably doesn't want to hear about it right now, but MLB Trade Rumors has some good news for him: They're projecting the Super 2 cutoff for this offseason at two years and 134 days of service time. Lucroy is expected to clear that mark and net an extra $2 million as part of his new contract.
Elsewhere in contract notes, Tom Haudricourt points out that the Brewers still haven't extended the contracts of Ron Roenicke or Doug Melvin. Melvin's deal runs out following this season, while Roenicke has a club option for 2013.
Corey Hart could be a player to watch today as he opens the 2012 season having played in just two big league spring training games. He was also the subject of the final installment of The Brewer Nation's "Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers" series.
In the minors:
- The full season affiliates went 1-3 on their respective Opening Nights last night, with Taylor Jungmann pitching five innings and picking up his first professional win as Brevard County beat Daytona 11-4. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Chris Mehring of Rattler Radio has video highlights from Wisconsin's 7-1 loss to Cedar Rapids.
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem has a link to his pregame interview with Sounds manager Mike Guerrero and pictures from before their opening game in New Orleans.
- The good news is that Caleb Gindl was on base twice for Nashville last night...but the bad news is that he was hit twice by batted balls.
- Meanwhile the news is not good for Cody Scarpetta, opening the season on Huntsville's DL with a sore elbow, or Juan Perez, on the DL with back spasms.
- Baseball America has a look at the Brewers' minor league rosters.
- Mario Annicchiarico of the Victoria (British Columbia) Times Colonist has a story on Taylor Green opening the 2012 season in AAA.
- Mark McCarter of the Huntsville Times has a story on the Stars' pair of K. Davis', Kentrail and Khris.
- Reviewing the Brew has an interview with Wisconsin pitcher Seth Harvey.
- Rattler Radio has the list of walkup music selections for the 2012 Timber Rattlers.
In previews, power rankings and the like:
- The Common Man of The Platoon Advantage has the Brewers winning 88 games and a Wild Card.
- Athletics Nation has the Brewers winning 84 games and finishing third in the Central.
- Tim Brown of Yahoo has the Brewers eighth in his power rankings.
Indians: Pitcher Rick VandenHurk has declined an outright assignment to the minors and is now a free agent.
Mets: Placed outfielder Andres Torres on the DL with a calf strain.
Padres: Placed pitcher Tim Stauffer on the DL with an elbow strain.
Rays: Claimed pitcher John Gaub off waivers from the Cubs.
Yankees: Claimed pitcher Cody Eppley off waivers from the Rangers.
The Brewers open play today in a little bit of a hole in the NL Central: The Reds and Cardinals are already 1-0 and a half a game ahead in the division race. You know that and more if you've read this morning's 2012 debut edition of Around the NL Central.
Offense may pick up a bit today, but it got off to a slow start with several aces on the mound yesterday. David Pinto of Baseball Musings notes that batters hit just .191/.264/.295 in yesterday's openers.
Today in baseball economics:
- The Mets (42,080 at Citi Field) and Pirates (39,585 at PNC Park) set new ballpark attendance records yesterday, and the Tigers (45,027 at Comerica Park) broke their Opening Day record.
- That PNC Park attendance number would've been the 46th largest crowd at Miller Park in 2011.
- The Twins aren't expected to be competitive this season, but are still spending $98.6 million on payroll.
- Baseball America has a look at attendance numbers from various minor league Opening Days last night.
If you're headed out to the ballpark today, hopefully your first baseball experience of 2012 will be better than this one: DesigNate Robertson recaps an Opening Day experience at Comerica Park that explains why many of us are happy to wait and do our first game once the Opening Day crowd has cleared out. (h/t Hardball Talk)
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History celebrates the eleventh anniversary of the first game at Miller Park. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also the 39th anniversary of Gorman Thomas' major league debut.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to find something yellow.