The Milwaukee Brewers headed to the south side of Chicago for a tune up against the White Sox prior to Opening Day. Adrian Houser took the mound for the Brew Crew, while Carlos Rodon did the same for the White Sox. Houser had his sinker and slider working on this evening. By the time he left the game, he covered 4.1 innings, striking out 4 and inducing 6 ground ball outs.
Chicago did get to Houser in the bottom of the second. Houser actually should have gotten an out on a foul ball that stayed in play off the bat of ex-Brewer, Yasmani Grandal. Orlando Arcia was playing on the second base side in a shift resulting in him covering a tremendous amount of ground. He was able to get to the ball that hovered over the rolled turf on the third base side of the field. Arica tripped slightly causing him to falter just enough that the ball bounced off the heel of his glove.
The very next pitch from Houser was a ball that walked Grandal. Eloy Jimenez followed by rolling a double down the third base line. With runners on second and third, Luis Robert grounded sharply to Jedd Gyorko who made the first of two very fine plays on the night at third base. Gyorko recorded the out at first, but Grandal was able to score the first run of the game.
The storyline of the night came on the offensive side of things. Milwaukee brought their power bats, blasting four home runs. The first came on off the bat of Keston Hiura who took Rodon over the right field wall to tie the ball game in the top of the fourth.
The Brewers scored a second run in the fourth inning as Manny Pina doubled in Avi Garcia to take a 2-1 lead.
Christian Yelich would take Rodon deep in the top of the fifth. Yelich’s homer flew well into the left field seats giving the Crew a 3-1 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Ben Gamel laced a shot that took the ball and the glove of Luis Robert over the left-centerfield wall to make it 4-1.
The final home run of the evening came in the ninth as Orlando Arcia launched a shot over the left field wall.
While the bats were on full display tonight, the pitching was pretty good too. The aforementioned Houser pitched very well. David Phelps, Josh Hader, Alex Claudio, Corey Knebel, Justin Grimm, and Mike Morin all got outs in this game. Hader was a bit wild, but the only pitcher to struggle was Grimm. He hung a curveball that was laced down the line for a double. Nicky Delmonico followed that with a big fly off what a fastball that Bill Schroeder called “straight as a string.” The Delmonico two-run homer made it 4-3 at the time. Orlando Arcia’s homer gave us our final score of 5-3.
Of special interest, Corey Knebel looked rather good. The Knebel curve was on full display as he faced off with Eloy Jimenez. Jimenez had no answer for it. Knebel was only around 92 mph with his fastball, so hopefully his velocity will ramp up as the season progress. Nonetheless, Knebel was effective against some good White Sox hitters setting them down 1-2-3 in the seventh.
Milwaukee will play their first game of the regular season on Friday against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 CT. Brandon Woodruff is scheduled to take the mound for the Brewers, while Kyle Hendricks will do the honors for Chicago. The game will be televised to a national audience on ESPN.