December 21, 2014

It’s opening day and the Brewers are optimistic (AUDIO)

The Milwaukee Brewers late signing of right-handed pitcher Kyle Lohse has quickly

Ron Roenicke

Ron Roenicke

brought some optimism towards a post-season run.

Prior to Lohse signing with Milwaukee, they thought winning games would have to come from the offense.  They’ll still need to score runs, but the added pitching adds promise.  Lohse had pitched for four teams over 12 Major League seasons, but his best seasons have come in St. Louis the last two years, including a 16-3 mark in 2012 with a 2.86 ERA.

Lohse is expected to make his first start with the Brewers on Friday against Arizona.  He threw a bullpen session on Sunday at Miller Park and pitched in one exhibition game after signing late with the club.

Marco Estrada (5-7, 3.64 in 2012) pitches Tuesday.  Wily Peralta (2-1, 2.48 in 2012) goes Wednesday and right hander Mike Fiers is slated to pitch on Saturday against Arizona.

Yovani Gallardo makes his 4th opening day start for the Brewers this afternoon against Colorado.  Gallardo (16-9, 3.66) is 0-2 in season openers.  He lost to the Rockies in the 2010 opener.

AUDIO: Ron Roenicke asked if Lohse takes some pressure off of Gallardo :18

The Brewers start the season without first baseman Corey Hart.  He won’t play until sometime in May after undergoing offseason knee surgery.  Alex Gonzalez will be his primary replacement but will get some help from Yuniesky Betancourt and Martin Maldonado.

AUDIO: Ron Roenicke on Betancourt backing up at 1st base :17

The Brewers won’t have to deal with the pressure of being a division favorite.  Even with the addition of Kyle Lohse, the favorite tag still falls on the Cincinnati Reds who won the Central division last year, even without a healthy Joey Votto.

The Pittsburgh Pirates think they’ve reached the point that adding a key veteran to an emerging group of young players will push them over the top.

St. Louis has depth and experience in their lineup but will they have enough pitching.  The Brewers, who will score a lot of runs again this season, should have a chance to compete with the Pirates and Cardinals.

Then there’s the Chicago Cubs.  They’re better than a year ago, but not enough to crawl out of 5th place.  And with Houston gone to the American League, 5th place in this division is now last.

The Brewers and Rockies will open at 1:10pm today at Miller Park.