Some things to read while filling your recycling bin.
The Brewers needed an extra inning to do it, but they're off to a 1-0 start after beating the Rockies 5-4 yesterday on Jonathan Lucroy's walkoff sac fly. We've got the recap, if you missed it.
Rickie Weeks scored the winning run yesterday after reaching base on an HBP, the 109th of his career. For the first time in 2013, Plunk Everyone has more on the event. Weeks, by the way, has played in eight Opening Days as a Brewer and scored a run in all of them.
Weeks was probably fortunate to have an opportunity to score that run, though, because the throw beat him to the bag on his stolen base in the tenth inning. Weeks was also thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double earlier in the game, and Carlos Gomez was picked off first base. All of this came just hours after Ron Roenicke told reporters he plans to "unleash" the Brewers' team speed in 2013.
The fact that the Brewers went on to win will at least slightly overshadow one of the day's other notable moments: John Axford had two outs (on a pair of strikeouts) in the ninth when he allowed a solo home run that tied the game, blowing the save and pushing the contest into extra innings. David Schoenfield of ESPN listed it as one of his ten notable moments from Opening Day.
Obviously we're all sensitive to Axford blown saves because we've certainly seen enough of them, but I think it's a little too early to get worked up over them. Even with Axford's gaffe yesterday, the Brewer bullpen combined to allow a run on two hits over five innings, did not issue a walk and struck out eight. It's hard to ask for much more than that.
Alfredo Figaro pitched two scoreless innings in his Brewer debut yesterday, and noted leisured gentleman Carson Cistulli noted that his fastball velocity, which was around 92 as a starter with the Tigers, is now up to as high as 96. Cistulli's conversation with Figaro is the topic of our Tweet of the Day:
Talked to Brewers reliever Alfredo Figaro. We're about the same height, but he's doing a lot more work in the "muscles" department.— Carson Cistulli (@cistulli) April 1, 2013
Cistulli also caught audio of Ryan Braun taking BP with some added sound effects. He noticed that Braun's practice home runs don't even come down before Ed Sedar starts throwing the next pitch.
Other notes from the field:
- Yesterday's game was only the second time in franchise history the Brewers have gone to extra innings on Opening Day. They also won the other game, in 2008.
- Aramis Ramirez was yesterday's game MVP, and his +.62 win percentage added (WPA) was the highest in all of baseball for the day.
- We've got a look at the game's turning points and video of Ron Roenicke's postgame comments.
- Coolstandings has the Brewers' chances to make the playoffs at 31.3%, up 1.3% from yesterday.
- Eight Brewers were a part of their first Opening Day roster yesterday, and five of them (Alfredo Figaro, Jim Henderson, Jean Segura, Logan Schafer and Khris Davis) appeared in the game. It was also Davis' major league debut, as noted on the big screen.
- BrewGIFs has GIFs from Norichika Aoki's home run and Jonathan Lucroy getting a shaving cream pie in the dugout following the game.
The ItalianThe Brat won 2013's first official Sausage Race.
Moving on, the series continues today when Marco Estrada takes on Jorge De La Rosa at 7:10 tonight and AJ Cassavell of MLB.com has the preview. Ron Roenicke told reporters he's splitting up Estrada and Kyle Lohse in the Opening Day rotation because he feels like they're similar pitchers.
Of course, everything about the rotation would be better if the Brewers had been able to find a way to re-sign Zack Greinke this winter. Dave Radcliffe of Yahoo has a look at the reasons why the Brewers will miss their former ace this season.
If you're wondering where the money to pay Kyle Lohse came from recently, this might be your answer: The Milwaukee Business Journal notes that the Brewers are getting $20 million in local TV revenue in 2013, up from $12 million a year ago. (h/t @Mass_Haas)
Perhaps some of that extra $8 million was spent finding a way to drive a food truck up onto the Loge level. John Steinmiller and Caitlin Moyer have a look at the "Double Clutch" truck the team has added to the ballpark this year.
If you're sitting at Miller Park this season (or watching from home, I guess) and you're trying to identify the song you're hearing, this might be a good first step: John and Cait also have a guide to players' walkup songs for 2013.
Timeliness isn't everyone's strong suit, so hopefully you'll forgive this installment of season predictions for being a little late:
- David Schoenfield of ESPN has the Brewers winning 87 games and finishing second in the NL Central.
- Matthew Leach of MLB.com has the Brewers finishing third.
- Mike Bates (formerly known as The Common Man) of The Platoon Advantage has the Brewers winning 79 and finishing fourth.
If you'd like more Brewer coverage today but you're sick of reading, yesterday's edition of The Home Stretch Hangout has been archived. Justin Hull of 95.3 FM WSCO in Appleton and I spent a few minutes talking about the seasons ahead, expectations and hope.
Cubs: Designated pitcher Rob Whitenack for assignment and placed second baseman Darwin Barney on the DL with a laceration on his left kneecap.
Rangers: Released first baseman Brandon Allen.
White Sox: Re-acquired first baseman Lars Anderson from the Blue Jays for cash.
In former Brewers:
- Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus remembers when Paul Molitor missed Opening Day in 1989 because he broke his finger running laps.
- Graham Womack of The Hardball Times has a look at what the salaries paid to many Hall of Famers (including Molitor) would stack up in 2012 dollars.
And in baseball economics:
- Ticket prices for non-premium seats went up 2.7% across baseball this season. That's the highest single-season boost since 2009.
- In a potentially related note, the Dodgers' record Opening Day payroll was over $239 million.
If not for yesterday's Brewer win, my favorite moment from the day would have come in Chicago where the rosin bag blew apart on Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett as he was getting ready to start the game. The Cubs won the game 3-1, by the way, but not before Chicago manager Dale Sveum had to pull closer Carlos Marmol out of an Opening Day save opportunity.
This morning's edition of Today In Brewer History marks the 22nd anniversary of the Brewers signing veteran second baseman Willie Randolph as a free agent. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's also been 3000 days since the Brewers signed free agent pitcher and former 20-game winner Rick Helling.