The Milwaukee Brewers were only able to take one game from the St. Louis Cardinals in their opening weekend series and are looking at a dismal 1-2 start to begin the 2012 season. It is crucial they find their rhythm soon as they cannot afford back-to-back series losses to division rivals.
If it were not for Zack Greinke’s Cy Young performance the Brewers could very well be looking at a series sweep at the hands of the defending World Series champion Cardinals. Greinke was absolutely flawless against St. Louis Saturday afternoon in front of a national television audience. He only allowed three hits in 7.0 innings pitched while striking out seven.
Obviously, Greinke is an outstanding pitcher and it would not be fair to the other Brewer starters to compare them to him. However, if Yovani Gallardo is going to call himself an ace and take the No. 1 pitcher spot then he better have more control the next time out because his performance was simply embarrassing.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe Gallardo is an incredible pitcher with loads of talent and has the potential to be one of the top right-handers in the league. Unfortunately, he did not show us that on Opening Day which may have Milwaukee fans a little worried.
The bullpen must also pull it together as half of the relievers surrendered multiple runs over the weekend. This is something that simply cannot happen if the Brewers want to repeat as NL Central division champs. Closer John Axford looked very shaky in his only appearance which took place Sunday afternoon. It was not a close situation and there basically was no pressure, yet he still managed to put two men on base. Manager Ron Roenicke was forced to go back to his bullpen with two outs because he did not want Axford’s pitch count to get out of control.
Milwaukee’s offense has some concerns too as they struggled to put runs on the board. The only person swinging with confidence is Corey Hart, who is one of the hottest batters in the majors thus far this season with three home runs. Aramis Ramirez is off to an incredibly slow start and Ryan Braun looked a bit shaky with his 0-5 start to the season but seems to be turning it around with hits in the last two games, including his first home run of the season.
I understand it was the first series of the season and it was against a very good team that is coming off a World Series title, but there are definitely some areas of concern for Roenicke and the rest of the Brewers coaching staff. Hopefully, the Brewers can turn it around quickly against the Chicago Cubs Monday night.