October 20, 2014

Gallardo, Brewers open season with high expectations

It’s opening day today at Miller Park and twelve other Major League venues

Miller Park batting practice

Miller Park batting practice

across the country today.

The Milwaukee Brewers open their 46th season as a franchise and 17th as a member of the National League when they take on the Atlanta Braves.

The Brewers franchise is 24-20-1 all-time on Opening Day, going 9-6 at home (3-2 at Miller Park) and 15-14-1 on the road.

Yovani Gallardo makes his 5th opening day start, trailing only Ben Sheets (6) in franchise history among pitchers.  Gallardo will be the first pitcher in franchise history to make five straight Opening Day starts.

AUDIO: Yovani Gallardo is honored by opening day assignment :17

Gallardo is still looking for his first opening day win (0-2, 5.81 era in four previous starts).  But manager Ron Roenicke knows Gallardo is a big part of their potential success.

AUDIO: Ron Roenicke says Gallardo is critical to Brewers success :10

Gallardo brings a 81-53 career record into today’s game against Atlanta.  He’s looking to bounce back from an up and down 2013 season where he went 12-10 with a 4.16 ERA.

Things didn’t get any better for Gallardo when he was arrested for drunken driving last April.  It left Gallardo embarrassed and apologetic.

This is an important season and one that should have Gallardo highly motivated.  A big season will likely set him up for a big payday.  He’s looking to take on more of a leadership role, hoping to help the Brewers rebound from an injury plagued 74-win season a year ago.

It’s going to be a challenging start for the Brewers, who will play 16 of their first 19 games against 2013 playoff teams that had a minimum of 94 wins last season.  It includes games against the World Champion Boston Red Sox and the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza will pitch the next two games in the series.  Marco Estrada gets the start Friday in Boston and will be followed by Wily Peralta.

Parking lots open at 10am today as tailgaters get ready for opening day.  Joseph Attanasio, the father of Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, will sing the National Anthem for the 10th straight season.