The Braves and Brewers played one of the four games that ended in a shutout on Opening Day yesterday. And with Alex Wood taking the ball for his first start against Kyle Lohse, there should be some more zero’s while the bats are still defrosting after a long Wisconsin winter. The Brew Crew is a slight favorite with the total opening at 8.
I ended last season high on the Brewers’ future. Milwaukee rewarded the late-season optimism with lots of wins and I think they’re pretty much be a decent bet at worst for at least the first few weeks of the season, and possibly longer. The Brewers have exciting young talent for a team that didn’t, and doesn’t, have a highly touted farm system. Players like Scooter Gennett and Khris Davis bring energy to a team with young established talent that needs a little bit of a push at times. Not sure if Milwaukee will sustain the type of energy it will likely come out of the gates with for games 120-162, but there are some interesting pieces on this club.
Tomorrow, the Brewers play behind Kyle Lohse. And if there was any trend to follow with Milwaukee last year it was the lack of run support the Brewers consistently came up with the mentor figure in the starting rotation. And with a fresh Alex Wood going for Atlanta early in the season, I don’t see Milwaukee stepping up in the first day of April to buck the low run support trend in 2014. But there’s plenty to like about Lohse Tuesday in his first start of his 35-year-old season.
No one can blame Lohse for taking several starts to settle into Milwaukee after being the last significant free agent to move late in last year’s offseason. Now in his second season with Milwaukee, Lohse should begin the season much more comfortably and ready to back up Yovani Gallardo as the Brewer’s second veteran “ace.” I put it like that because there really isn’t a good word for someone in between a quality starter and an ace, which is exactly what Lohse is at this point in his career. He’s grown into a guy that takes pride in pitching at home, especially in front of an early-season crowd that will bring more energy than the Brewers are used to later in the summer. Lohse has thrown over 100 at-bats against the Braves’ current roster, which some might consider it a good thing while others consider it bad. I tend to think the familiarity only helps veterans that depend on their craft as much as anything else. Lohse is no exception there. And the Brewers number two will follow-up Gallardo’s stellar debut with a quality start. Neither offense will do enough to push this one over.
Free Pick: Atlanta/Milwaukee Under 8 (-115)
alex wood • Atlanta Braves • kyle lohse • milwaukee brewers