Yesterday's game might not have been the prettiest thing, but it was a solidly-played game with a lot of very good signs for the 2006 Brewers. A few observations:
Doug Davis might not have been 100% on, but he had a lot of his stuff. Some of the Pirates hitters did a good job fouling balls off and getting his pitch count up, and Davis had to throw a bunch of extra pitches to get out of the 1st inning after Carlos Lee's error. But for a jittery Opening Day start, I'll happily take it.
JJ Hardy: man oh man. He hit that home run a long way. Daron was talking about how much more aggressive he's gotten since this point last year. Yeah, I'd say.
Justin Lehr looked great--better than last year--and Matt Wise looks solid as well.
Derrick Turnbow? Holy crap. His breaking ball to finish off Jose Castillo buckled my knees.
Prince Fielder and Geoff Jenkins each struck out far too many times. Geoff looked ugly against the lefty, and it turns out that's pretty typical. Fielder looked more like an overaggressive rookie in his first Opening Day start. I'm not worrying about him--even against lefties--just yet.
- Speaking of swinging the bat, I was somewhat disappointed by Brady Clark and JJ Hardy, who went up there hacking in the first inning. I couldn't stay down on JJ after he hit one out, but between them our #1 and #2 hitters probably didn't see more than five pitches.
- Oliver Perez had stretches where he looked like the Cy Young contender of old; other times, he looked like he'll be contending for the #4 spot in the rotation. He's sometimes scary, but beatable.
- Brewers pitchers unintentionally intentionally walked Jason Bay three times. He's good, and yes, he's the only real threat in that lineup, but he's not that good. None of those walks came back to bite us yesterday, but that won't be the case every time, no matter what you think of Joe Randa and Jeromy Burnitz.
- For a few great pictures of yesterday's game, check out this photoset a buddy sent me last night. The JJ shot you see right now comes from him. Thanks!
I feel like I'm quibbling; I should be basking in the glow of a great Opening Day win, and I am. I hope that as this week progresses, we see a little better patience out of the top of the order, and Prince makes a breakthrough that makes him comfortable to be a Major Leaguer. Tonight, it's Chris Capuano vs. Victor Santos at 7:05 ET. I'll post a link roundup a little later and a game thread a little later still.