Some things to read while celebrating an anniversary.
So, with one game down and 161 to play, the Brewers' pitching staff doesn't look so good. Drew Olson of OnMilwaukee.com wants to make sure you remember that Suppan wasn't very good in his last meaningful outing either. Two-Fisted Slopper has christened yesterday "Tough Day For Suppan #1." And the bullpen wasn't much better.
Here's something you won't hear from me very often: I think we're overreacting here. Let's take a step back and look at things again:
- Yes, the decision to start Jeff Suppan on Opening Day was the wrong move. His inability to keep the Brewers in the game cost the Brewers a rare opportunity to beat last year's Cy Young Award winner and exposed the bullpen early.
- With that said, McClung followed Suppan in and had a rough inning. He walked three batters and the inning seemed to take an eternity, but he escaped with minimal damage (one run) and returned to go 1-2-3 in his second inning.
- Dave Bush followed him in and got shelled. Bush is not going to be a regular member of the bullpen in 2009, so it's not really fair to criticize him for an inning pitched well outside of his normal role, or to use his performance to criticize a bullpen he's not actually part of.
- Jorge Julio gave up a solo home run in mop-up duty. If you were expecting significantly better from Jorge Julio, please adjust your expectations.
If Jeff Suppan, or any Brewer starting pitcher, had pitched six solid innings instead of four crappy ones, or even given up four runs in six innings instead of six in four, the entire tone of the game changes. Yesterday wasn't a disaster: it was one bad decision that got compounded into an ugly loss.
Suppan was given the start yesterday to keep pressure off of Yovani Gallardo, who will get the start today. There's no pressure today, of course, being the guy who goes to the mound following an ugly Opening Day loss.
Don't tell Gallardo this, the pressure might kill him: UmpBump has Gallardo as an option in their poll to determine the next pitcher to 300 wins, once Randy Johnson picks up five more.
As Fear the Beer noted, yesterday's loss was the Brewers' first Opening Day loss in five years. However, as TheJay noted in yesterday's Game Thread, it's their second straight loss following a postseason appearance: the 1983 Brewers also opened with a loss.
On the bright side, Rickie Weeks had a pretty good day yesterday, getting on base four times in five trips to the plate. Quevedo at the Buffet is ready for the Summer of Rickie Weeks, provided he can maintain his .800 OBP.
Meanwhile, Corey Hart is enjoying his new lineup position. In his first two at bats yesterday, he grounded out on the first pitch immediately following a walk, and struck out. Hart went 1-for-5 on the day, and might be part of the reason Weeks only scored one run in four times on base. J.J. Hardy, who moved to the #5 spot to accommodate the change, went 0-for-5 and grounded into two double plays.
Later today I'll be reviewing entries from the 2009 BCB Over/Under contest and looking at what they say about our expectations for 2009. If you can't wait that long, though, Tyler Maas of Bugs & Cranks has 20 predictions for the season, including an unfortunate ending for Craig Counsell.
Excitement is building for the debut of the 2009 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The Appleton Post Crescent has some quotes from yesterday's FanFest regarding Brett Lawrie, Cutter Dykstra and Cody Scarpetta. Brett Lawrie blogged about the move to Appleton and being excited to get into games again, and Rattler Radio has a look at the rotation the Rattlers will use to start the season. Cody Scarpetta will start tomorrow and Efrain Nieves will follow him to the mound.
In other minor notes:
- Adam McCalvy has the rosters for Huntsville and Brevard County. (h/t FanShot)
- Fangraphs ranks the Brewers minor league system 13th overall. That might be a little low, but it's close to fair.
- The former Brewer low-A affiliates, the West Virginia Power, are speaking out about their move from the Brewers organization to the Pirates, and saying they wanted to make a change. That sounds like sour grapes to me, as the Pirates may supply the Power with the least talented team in their league this season.
It was a rough day for the broadcasters yesterday too, especially new studio analyst Jerry Augustine. Chuckie Hacks has a critique of the season's first postgame show.
Baseball players have too much time on their hands during spring training games: Ryan Braun and Mike Cameron were fooled by a Manny Ramirez imitator in the stands at Dodger Stadium this weekend.
Elsewhere around baseball:
Cubs: Geovany Soto had to leave last night's game with pain in his throwing shoulder and will miss a few days, at least.
Mariners: Signed Jeff Zimmerman to a minor league deal. He's undergone three elbow surgeries since last pitching in the majors in 2001.
Rockies: Are reportedly one of three teams interested in Chad Gaudin, who cleared waivers after being released by the Cubs.
The Brewers roster has a couple of unlikely stories, perhaps most notably Mark DiFelice, but I'm going to go ahead and give the edge to new Padres starter Walter Silva, who will make his major league debut tonight after a road to the big leagues that has included washing dishes at an Outback, playing in the Sunday Leagues and seven seasons in Mexico. (h/t True Blue LA)
Speaking of the Padres, only the most pessimistic of Brewer fans would have believed that new Padres closer Heath Bell would pick up a save before former closer Trevor Hoffman.
It's a shame the Brewers hope opener hasn't happened yet, because it could have been a key contributor: Big League Stew has a series of their favorite ridiculous wardrobe decisions from Opening Day.
Have you ever been to Wrigley Field? If you have, you've probably never said, "Man, I wish there were more drunk people here." But, if you have made that insane request, the Cubs are granting it by opening The Captain Morgan Club inside the ballpark.
Oh, and multi-tasking is an underrated skill, but driving drunk while breastfeeding a baby? That's just showing off.