By Jay Kennedy
In case you missed it, here was the Milwaukee Brewers starting lineup on Opening Day against the Giants.
1. RF Domingo Santana
2. SS Jonathan Villar
3. LF Ryan Braun
4. C Jonathan Lucroy
5. 1B Chris Carter
6. 3B Aaron Hill
7. 2B Scooter Gennett
8. CF Keon Broxton
9. P Wily Peralta
That being said, my “critical thinking skills” become, well, critical…
1) When I first saw this lineup, I have to say I was a little surprised that Jonathan Villar batted 2nd and Aaron Hill batted 6th, both in front of Scooter Gennett. It could be said that Gennett historically has had trouble hitting left handed pitching but if you made the decision to have him in the starting lineup, why not take advantage of his 4 HR, 10 RBI, in spring training? He has the hot hand. If you are going to tell me that spring training numbers mean nothing, then consider the fact that Aaron Hill is 0 for 2, as in 2 years. Hill comes to bat in the 1st inning with bases loaded, 1 out, and grounds into an inning ending double play. Gennett leads off the very next inning with a home run. Hill managed to wow the Brewer faithful in spring training with a robust batting average of .212. Scooter Gennett, you ask? .424.
2) I also found it curious that pitcher, Carlos Torres, was brought into a game, 5th inning, that was 5-3 at the time. Torres was let go by the Braves (Did I mention that most Power Rankings have the Atlanta Braves dead last), and he basically joined the team on the day before opening day. He promptly gave up 2 runs. Granted, a player inserted into a game after just joining a team happens frequently and Torres’s spring training numbers were actually ok, 0-0, 4.00 ERA, in 9 innings. Give the guy time to unpack!
3) Pitcher, Ariel Pena continues the trend he showed in spring training. Perhaps that is why most successful coaches have preached, “You play like you practice.” Pena was tattooed on a regular basis in spring training, an 8.10 ERA in 10 innings, opponents batting .300 against him. In 1.2 innings on opening day, his ERA is now at a hefty 27.00. Had he not been out of minor league options, he should have never made the team in the first place.
4) In the top of the 2nd inning, Hunter Pence reaches first on an error by Scooter Gennett. A double and a single later by the next two batters, Brandon Belt and Matthew Duffy, and Pence scores, the double on an 0-2 count. In the top of the 3rd inning, Brewer pitcher, Wily Peralta, walks Angel Pagan to open the inning. Pagan steals 2nd and scores on a single in the very next at bat. I don’t care how many times you tear a team apart and rebuild, if you can’t play fundamental baseball. you lose.
I know, I hear you, it is only the first game and “there is no crying in baseball.” There were a few good things that came from the game, including a homerun by Gennett off of a left hander. This also may have been the very first opening game where both pitchers batted 8th. If you were at the game, you were a part of history. Congratulations!
Day 2 at Miller Park features a night game, 7:10 pm, with Johnny Cueto taking the mound for the San Francisco Giants, opposing Jimmy Nelson for the Brewers. The season is young, the brats are hot, and the roof is closed. It is a long season and there is a lot of baseball left to be played. “Play ball!”