By Tim Muma on March 24, 2014
The 2014 season is almost here for the Milwaukee Brewers, and they are 23-20-1 in their 44 opening day tilts for the record (yes, there was a tie). The opener is unpredictable, especially with how well the pitchers will fare. They've had some nice outings, with the staff giving up less than four runs in 24 openers. So with that in mind, I give you the Brewers' five best Opening Day pitching performances of all time.
Sheets went only 6.1 innings, but he shut down the Cubs at Wrigley Field, striking out seven batters without allowing a run. He gave up just a pair of hits and two walks on 99 pitches. Though the Brewers won the game, Sheets was denied the victory when Eric Gagne blew a three-run lead in the ninth. It was Sheets' last year in Milwaukee.
Opening the season in Yankee Stadium, Caldwell got the win in a battle of AL East rivals. Caldwell gave up a run in the first, then shut out New York the rest of the way. Amazingly, he tossed a complete game without striking out or walking a batter. He gave up seven singles in all, but only four came during the second through ninth innings.
Coming off a season when he pitched 261.2 innings, Higuera hurled seven shutout innings to take down Baltimore in the new year's opener. He was in total control, fanning seven men and walking only one on 92 pitches. Higuera gave up just three hits as the Brewers went on to win 12-0 and Higuera finished the season with a 2.45 ERA.
Slaton somehow weaved his way to a complete-game, 5-0 shutout of the Yanks in County Stadium despite getting just one strikeout. He walked three batters and gave up four hits, but worked his magic by picking off a runner, allowing no extra-base hits and holding New York to an 0-for-6 day with runners in scoring position.
I was in the stands for this one and Sheets was incredible. He made one bad pitch all game, which went for a solo home run, in his complete-game win. Sheets struck out three, didn't walk a batter and only allowed a pair of hits in a dominating 104-pitch, 7-1 victory. Despite the unfortunate homer, Sheets was lights-out all day and nearly unhittable throughout.
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