The Milwaukee Brewers, in the second season of their current rebuild, open the 2017 campaign against the Colorado Rockies at Miller Park (1:10 p.m.) today.
By the numbers, the Brewers are 25-22-1 all time on opening day, including a 10-8 home mark (4-4 Miller Park). They’re opening at home for the sixth straight season and for the fourth time against the Rockies. All three previous opening matchups against the Rockies have also come at Miller Park and the Brewers are 1-2 in those matchups.
The Brewers went 5-1 against Colorado last season, including a 3-0 record at Miller Park.
Ryan Braun will become the fourth player in franchise history to start at least 10 openers. Robin Yount started 19, Paul Molitor 12 and Jim Gantner 11.
Junior Guerra gets the opening day nod for the Brewers. He went 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA last season. The Rockies counter with Jon Gray, who finished 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA last season.
The Brewers will start the season with what’s believed to be the lowest payroll in baseball. According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers have 17 players making the Major League minimum or around the minimum ($535,000). Ten players are making a total of about $48.5 million, or more than 86% of the payroll. Two players, left fielder Ryan Braun ($15 million) and pitcher Matt Garza ($10.5 million) account for about 45% of the total payroll.
The Brewers started the 2015 season with a $102.3 million payroll, dipped to $56.5 million to start last season and will open 2017 at just over $56 million.
The Brewers finished last season with a 73-89 record, but general manager David Stearns said there’s no set number of games that he needs to see his team win this season.
The Brewers finalized their 25-man opening day roster on Sunday. The optioned reliever Tyler Cravy and Rob Scahill to Class AAA Colorado Springs.
They announced the signing of reliever Jared Hughes, who had been released by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Brewers have a total of nine players on their active opening day roster for the first time and manager Craig Counsell will have a number of lineup options to go to. Counsell said his lineup will change quite a bit, especially early.
The Brewers will start the season with 13 pitchers, two catchers, six infielders and four outfielders. They do have some flexibility with infielder Hernan Perez, who is also the teams fifth outfielder. Manager Craig Counsell said his toughest lineup decision for opening day came with not having Perez in his starting lineup.