Brewers Opening Day Loss Was as Brewers-Esque as it Gets
Watching the Brewers lose 7–5 on Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies in front of a sellout crowd at Miller Park was as Déjà vu as it gets for most lifelong Brewers fans.
The Crew, as always seems to be the case, fell behind early as Mark Reynolds (yes, ANOTHER former Brewers starter) homered off of Brewers Opening Day starter Junior Guerra to give the Rockies a 2–0 lead.
No big deal, right? Unfortunately, the score would be the least of the Brewers concerns in a mere inning.
Trailing 2–0 in the bottom of the 3rd inning, Guerra laid down a sacrifice bunt and began the routine formality that is running to first base. This would prove costly for the Crew.
Guerra would come up limp and exit the game with a calf strain which will keep him out for at least 10 days. He allowed two earned runs on one hit in his three innings of action.
Starting to remember why you weren’t distraught when baseball season ended last year?
Already down 2–0, resident left-handed pitcher Tommy Milone entered for the Crew. He promptly allowed two earned runs in two innings of work and the Crew were down 4–0 heading to the bottom of the 5th inning.
Not exactly an inspiring start to the season.
However, the fortunes of the Crew would change in the 5th. A small-ball rally started by young shortstop Orlando Arcia and newcomer Jett Bandy would allow Jonathan Villar to come up with two on and double to center, cutting the Rockies lead to 4–2.
The inning wouldn’t end there, however. New first baseman Eric Thames doubled in Villar and pinch-hitter Jesus Aguilar, and the Crew had all of a sudden pulled even with Colorado.
Another double, this time from the Mayor of Ding Dong City, Travis Shaw, brought in Thames and in a snap the Crew had the lead, 5–4, heading to the top of the sixth.
And just as is always the case, Milwaukee would promptly tear my heart out and stomp on it.
Jhan Marinez came in to pitch the seventh inning for the Brewers with the score still locked at 5–4. Marinez would load the bases while only recording a single out, a beautiful throw-him-out at home plate from Braun to Arcia to Bandy, before being pulled in favor of Corey Knebel.
Knebel would do exactly what was asked of him; he got Charlie Blackmon to hit a sharp grounder to short, which Orlando Arcia played beautifully and flipped to Villar at second for what seemed to be a huge, momentum shifting double play to get the Crew out of the inning.
Except, somehow, it wasn’t.
Villar bobbled the ball on the transfer, allowing the speedy Blackmon to reach first safely, and the tying run scored as a result of the blunder. 5–5 all.
With men on the corners with two outs, Blackmon took off, and in any regular game the base was as good as stolen without a throw.
Except for the fact they were facing off with the always blundering Brewers.
Baandy threw down to second base, and the throw, though short, was on the money. What was the problem, then, you may ask?
Nobody covered the bag.
The go-ahead run would come in to score and it was 6–5 Rockies as a result of the Brewers inability to play defense.
And yet somehow the most Brewers-esque moment was yet to come.
Down by one run in the eight inning, it looked as if the Crew had it made in the shade. After walks issued to Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton, there were men on first and second with nobody out as Jett Bandy took to the plate.
Bandy looked as if he was attempting a bunt, but the first pitch came inside and he was unable to make contact. Meanwhile, Santana and Broxton pulled off the double steal, and as a result of Bandy’s leering over the plate both were safe.
With men on second and third with nobody out, surely even the Brewers couldn’t screw this up?
Of course they could.
The next three batters (Bandy, Arcia and Perez) were struck out in order, all showing little to no plate discipline in the climactic situation.
It was as if I was watching every Brewers season on a loop.
After Villar made another fielding gaffe in the ninth to allow another run to score for the Rockies, the Brewers were unable to rally against closer Greg Holland and they fell to Colorado 7–5.
Sure, there were plenty of positives that came out of the game — for instance, Bandy looked great behind the plate, saving two runs on different occasions. The offense didn’t look anemic. The team even played with a bit of chemistry compared to last year’s opening day debacle.
And yet, once again as a Brewers fan I am frustrated.
I understand that the Crew are going to lose, and lose and lose and lose, and that’s part of the rebuild.
However, it seems they can’t lose in traditional ways. Instead of simply getting beaten by a better team, they continually are defeated by themselves rather than their opponents.
It was a classic case of “when the offense is hot, the pitching is cold” and vice versa on Monday. As the bats warmed up, it seemed Jonathan Villar forgot how to play second base.
Okay, enough sour grapes for now. With 161 games to go, the Brewers will look to improve every chance they get and I’m sure they will mesh as the new faces become familiar faces with the big league club.
The Crew will look to bounce back tomorrow as young star Zach Davies takes the mound to face off with Rockies’ lefty Tyler Anderson. Look for Hernan Perez to get the start against the left-handed Anderson.
And hey, don’t look now but the Crew is in 2nd place in the NL Central; there’s no place but up!
Record: 0–1 (2nd in NL Central)
Next Game: Tuesday, April 4th vs. Colorado, 6:10 (Davies vs. Anderson)