The Brewers will be without Ryan Braun Saturday night as the star right fielder sits due to his thumb. Here is the full Brewers lineup:
CF Carlos Gomez
SS Jean Segura
DH Jonathan Lucroy
3B Aramis Ramirez
LF Khris Davis
RF Logan Schafer
1B Mark Reynolds
2B Scooter Gennett
C Martin Maldonado
Braun admitted yesterday that his thumb was still an issue as his nerves are damaged and he can not feel how hard he is gripping either a bat or baseball at the moment. That has led to severe blisters in the area as he holds the bat too hard when he swings. It has also effected his performance at the plate going back to last season. Braun was 0-5 last night with a strikeout.
For now, it appears the only thing that could definitively fix his thumb is surgery, something he opted not to have over the last few months. However, a procedure is not a sure-fire fix and as Joe Block said on the radio broadcast yesterday, there is a chance that it could magnify the problem. One bad day isn't a reason to panic, but up until now (including spring training) Braun had been able to play through the injury. The fact that he is sitting today is surely not a great sign.
Martin Maldonado will also make his first start of the season while Jonathan Lucroy moves to DH. It's unsurprising that Maldonado gets the start behind the plate with Wily Peralta on the mound. Over Peralta's short career, he has a 6.38 ERA and 828 opponent OPS with Lucroy catching him and a 3.64 ERA and 678 OPS with Maldonado behind the plate. Expect to see the two of them together a lot this season.
The Red Sox will also be without one of their big sluggers as David Ortiz sits today due to a sore calf. Here is the full Boston lineup: