HR: Hart (3), Braun (1), Beltran (2), Robinson (1)
There are very few conclusions that one can draw from a three game stretch. Sure, the Brewers lost a series to possibly their biggest rivals. Sure, Mat Gamel hasn't been great the past couple games. Sure, Randy Wolf and Yovani Gallardo weren't the best in their season debuts. Sure, the bullpen kind of stunk up the place today.
No, this doesn't mean the Cardinals are better than the Brewers. No, that doesn't mean that Mat Gamel will be terrible. No that doesn't mean that Randy Wolf and Yovani Gallardo are going to struggle this year. No, this doesn't mean that the bullpen is bad.
It was one series loss. Big deal. It's a sour taste to begin the year with, but things are more than likely going to get a lot better. Did you have high hopes for the Brewers this season? Three games shouldn't be enough to change that. If the Brewers keep struggling over, say, 20 or 30 games, then we can discuss the possibility that we subjectively may have overrated the team a bit.
But not right now. The Brewers lost a three game series to a very good team. The Brewers, also a very good team, will almost certainly win a series against the Cardinals later in the year. Maybe next time the two teams meet.
Point being, don't freak out. Most people probably aren't. Most people are rational about this kind of thing. But some might doom and gloom over a couple of losses. I think we say every year when this happens that the Brewers were bound to lose a game/series/whatever anyway. This isn't an unexpected happenstance. It's a couple losses that aren't that big of a deal.
Randy Wolf had kind of a strange day today. He went just five innings, but struck out seven batters. Wolf isn't exactly a strikeout pitcher. He reached seven strikeouts just three times last season. So that was kind of strange and nice to see. Unfortunately, he also got hit. Hard. He gave up nine hits and a walk, while allowing three runs. Maybe the strikeouts were a result of him overthrowing a bit, thus leaving him susceptible to bad pitches. I'm sure the first game of the season is a very exciting and nerve-wracking experience for even a fourteen year veteran. Hopefully he'll calm down some and be the same old Randy Wolf that we know and sort of like I guess from last year. That Randy Wolf is a good fourth starter. Even better, maybe he'll be like Randy Wolf from last year, but with strikeouts, too! That won't happen, but I can dream.
The bullpen did kind of stink today. Nobody escaped unscathed. Marco Estrada went two innings and gave up two runs on two hits. The damage for him was done on a two run Carlos Beltran home run, which may have ended the Brewers hopes as it put the Cardinals up 5-1 after the seventh inning. Tim Dillard gave up a run in an inning. John Axford, continuing a trend of first-game badness, allowed two runs in 0.2 innings without even allowing a hit. And Kameron Loe gave up a three run home run to Shane Robinson in 0.1 innings pitched. Just one of those runs was attributed to him as the other two earned runs were given to John Axford, who allowed the base runners to reach via walk.
Lance Lynn had the Brewers number. Milwaukee managed five hits all day, and just two came against Lynn as he worked 6.2 innings. Corey Hart tagged another big home run (his third in two days), but that was the only real damage off of Lynn. Lynn also struck out eight Milwaukee hitters and walked just one. That's not a bad day from a guy who wasn't even supposed to be a starter until a couple of weeks ago.
As you might expect, their isn't much to highlight from the offensive side on the Brewers today. Corey Hart hit his home run and Ryan Braun went 2-4 with his first home run of the season. Alex Gonzalez got his first hit of the year and Aramis Ramirez reached base on a walk. The other hit came from Norichiki Aoki in his second MLB at-bat.
Tomorrow is another day and the Brewers head to Chicago for a four game set against the Cubs. Shaun Marcum will make his season debut for the Brewers as he faces off with Chris Volstad, who is making his Cubs debut after the team traded Carlos Zambrano to Miami for him. That will be the first night game of the season, with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 CST.