In 2009, the Brewers had ex-Cardinals pitcher Jeff Suppan start Opening Day despite clamoring for a younger pitcher to get the nod. That younger pitcher, Yovani Gallardo, instead started the next five opening days. In 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Gallardo is now a Texas Ranger, though, leaving the Brewers to find a new Opening Day starter for the first time in half a decade. They've decided to bookend Gallardo's reign with another ex-Cardinal: Kyle Lohse. Lohse signed with the Brewers prior to 2013 and is under contract through this season, making him the veteran of the rotation both in terms of time spent as a Milwaukee starter and as the oldest member of the staff.
Lohse is familiar with Opening Day starts, having had the opportunity with the Cardinals in both 2008 and 2012. In the first, he faced Colorado and pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out three. In the second, he allowed a run in 7.1 innings against the Marlins.
Among Brewers starters, Lohse has been among the most consistent. In his first year with the team, he had a 3.35 ERA and 4.08 FIP over 32 starts. Last year, he had a 3.54 ERA and 3.95 FIP in 31 games. Lohse, of course, isn't a hard thrower, nor is he going to post big strikeout numbers. But he knows how to make the most of what he's got and should be in for a nice year.
For the Rockies, newcomer Kyle Kendrick will get his first ever Opening Day start after spending the first eight years of his career with the Phillies. He signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal to join Colorado and will help lead their rotation while proving his value as a pitcher in preparation for becoming a free agent again next year.
Kendrick, 30, has bounced around between starting and relieving and has a 4.42 career ERA. Over 185 career starts, he's allowed a .778 opponent OPS while posting a 4.47 ERA and a K/9 under 5.0.
The Brewers have had a lot of success against Kendrick in the past with Ryan Braun (21 plate appearances, 1.318 OPS), Gerardo Parra (15 plate appearances, 1.043 OPS), and Jonathan Lucroy (14 plate appearances, 1.321 OPS), all enjoying plenty of success against him. In fact, the Brewers as a team have had an .842 OPS against him historically.
Here are today's lineups:
|COLORADO ROCKIES||MILWAUKEE BREWERS|
|Charlie Blackmon - CF||Carlos Gomez - CF|
|Carlos Gonzalez - RF||Jonathan Lucroy - C|
|Troy Tulowitzki - SS||Ryan Braun - RF|
|Justin Morneau - 1B||Aramis Ramirez - 3B|
|Nolan Arenado - 3B||Adam Lind - 1B|
|Corey Dickerson - LF||Khris Davis - LF|
|Nick Hundley - C||Scooter Gennett - 2B|
|DJ LeMahieu - 2B||Jean Segura - SS|
|Kyle Kendrick - RHP||Kyle Lohse - RHP|
It's supposed to be a sunny 50 degrees in Milwaukee today. A great day to play ball.