Friday's Opening Day Frosty Mug

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 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:

In previews, power rankings and the like:

Around baseball:

Indians: Pitcher Rick VandenHurk has declined an outright assignment to the minors and is now a free agent.
: 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:

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.

Drink up.

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