By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on March 31, 2014
The Milwaukee Brewers began the 2014 MLB season on a bright note after they defeated the Atlanta Braves on opening day. It was a critical win to give the fans, players and personnel the confidence that the Brewers have the necessary pieces to hang with the best of them. Make no mistake about it. Atlanta is a very good team, and Milwaukee taking the win in the opening game of the series shows just how great they could be this season.
It would be hard to talk about the victory without mentioning how impressive ace Yovani Gallardo was. The right-hander turned his back on a dismal 2013 season and showed he’s ready to come into his own in 2014. Gallardo struck out four batters in six innings. He allowed six hitters to reach base but was never in serious danger of surrendering a run. Gallardo’s curveball looked particularly good, which is a sign of good things to come.
We would have all loved to see Ryan Braun crush a home run on the first pitch, which was something he was gunning for with his might swing. However, Braun going 1-for-4 with a run and a stolen base was just as good because it directly affected the outcome of the game. The slugger could have allowed the pressure to get to him and laid an egg. Instead, he allowed the loud crowd to pump him up to the point where he could be productive.
The Brewers have decided to platoon at first and second base for the time being, which is unusual in the big leagues. One thing we did learn is that Rickie Weeks’ job is in jeopardy after Scooter Gennett went 2-for-3 at the plate and was terrific on defense. Weeks certainly didn’t help his cause when he grounded into a double play in the bottom of the seventh inning during a pinch-hit for Brandon Kintzler.
Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Lucroy missed quality time last season due to injuries, which had a huge effect on Milwaukee’s season. Both players demonstrated what could happen if they are able to stay healthy this year. Ramirez was the player of the game as his double scored the only two runs of the contest. Like Ramirez, Lucroy also went 2-for-3 at the plate, something that fans should get used to seeing.
In one of the more peculiar moves of the game, Francisco Rodriguez entered the ninth inning to shut the door on the Braves instead of closer Jim Henderson. Commentators Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder were also in a bit of shock. It was a pure managerial decision as Ron Roenicke believed Rodriguez was more prepared. It worked out for Milwaukee as K-Rod recorded the save and gave the Brewers their first win of the season.
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