Zack Greinke, as he executes the St. Louis batting order.
HR: Hart 2 (2), Weeks (1)
Zack Greinke can be really, really good. The cliche term would be "when he's on, he's on."
Greinke was on today. Seven innings on just 91 pitches, seven strikeouts, three hits. That's it. No walks, no runs, no nothing. He let David Freese get on twice (one on an infield single that Freese was probably out on) and let Rafael Furcal single. The rest of the Cardinals had no chance.
It's hard to do justice to how good Greinke was. If you have an opportunity, watch him pitch the first couple of innings. Know how we've talked a lot about Zack Greinke in 2009 and how amazing that season was and how incredibly he pitched? He looked like that today. Having that Greinke start off the season inspires a lot of hope. Or solidifies a lot of hope if you, like me, already had grand notions of success for Greinke this year. If he starts off like this, maybe he'll keep pitching like this and Milwaukee will get that huge payoff they were looking for.
This is the kind of game that makes you really want the Brewers to push and re-sign Greinke. Even if they have to overpay slightly, he can be so good that it's worth it. Or maybe that's an overreaction from one game and signing him isn't good for the future. Either way, this game is Greinke just begging for a nice contract from somebody. I hope it's from the Brewers.
It's one start. One incredible start. But it's his first start of the year and he's the kind of pitcher who could keep this up throughout 2012. Yovani Gallardo isn't going to be terrible this year, we're not going to even entertain that notion despite a terrible first start yesterday. Gallardo is too good to keep being that bad. It's not at all likely for Greinke to recreate 2009. But he can.
Corey Hart showed why the Brewers wanted to keep him off the DL to start the season. He crushed two home runs--one was the second longest of his career that he sent into the left field bleachers. The second was to straight-away center field. There was no question about either one.
Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks also had great games. Braun was 2-3 with a walk and a double while scoring a run. Weeks went 2-4 with his first home run of the year and two runs scored. Aramis Ramirez creamed an RBI double off the left-center wall that would have been a homer if it had been a foot higher. The 6-8th hitters had a tougher go of it, hitting a combined 0-10.
Francisco Rodriguez and Jose Veras pitched the eighth and ninth and didn't have much trouble putting down the rest of the St. Louis lineup. They both allowed a hit.
It's the first win of the year for the Brewers. That's a good feeling. It's not anymore important than a win in June, or August, or September. But it is infinitely more important than a win in March. And getting these wins is good to see again.