After struggling through the dreaded odd year, it is once again an even year for the Giants looking to solidify their dynasty of the decade. On the other hand, the Brewers look to find their identity as a ball club searching for better results than the last few years.
While the Giants have been consistently successful in the postseason, the Brewers have failed to make the playoffs since 2011 when they lost to the Cardinals in the NLCS; however, with a new season underway, all this meant nothing for the two ball clubs after the first pitch was thrown.
Today though, the San Francisco Giants defeated the Milwaukee Brewers by a final score of 12-3 at Miller Park.
Opening Day Starters
The Brewers sent out 26 year old right hander Willy Peralta from the Dominican Republic as their opening day starter in hopes that his lively sinker could spark the top of their rotation. He started the game with a quick nine pitch inning, but quickly ran into trouble as the game progressed. For the away team, Bruce Bochy started lefty phenom Madison Bumgarner for the third consecutive opening day game.
The former World Series MVP was far from his typical form throughout the game as he walked five batters through five innings pitched. He even managed to walk in a run in the bottom of the first. By the end of the fifth his pitch count had already surpassed 100 and he had given up 3 earned runs. He allowed five hits including solo shots from Scooter Gennett and Jonathon Villa on a mistake pitches while ahead in the count. It was later revealed that Bumgarner was dealing with flu symptoms, but he didn't allow this to be used as an excuse in a postgame interview.
Luckily for MadBum, the Giants provided more than enough run support as when he exited the game the lead was already up to four runs; at the end of the night the Giants put up an impressive 12 runs of offensive production.
Giant Offensive Explosion
Perhaps the most intriguing component of their decisive victory was the evenness of the lineup. While Matt Duffy was the early hero with a 2 run single, Denard Span stole the show by finishing the day 2/5 with 5 RBI and his first home run on the 2016 campaign. Everyone in the lineup, except for Madison Bumgarner (who was hitting 8th for Bruce Bochy), recorded a hit in the contest.
Brandon Belt finished with 3 hits while Span, Posey, and Duffy all recorded 2 for the Giants. When all was said and done, the Giants tallied a shocking 15 hits in their first game back. The undoubtable highlight of the afternoon was the back-to-back-to-back homers by Span, Panik and Posey in the eighth becoming the first to do so on opening day since 1997.
Of course, this offensive explosion came at the cost of Willy Peralta and four other relief pitcher during the course of the game. Peralta finished his debut allowing 4 earned runs on 6 hits and 2 walks through only four innings on the mound. In the bullpen, the worst damage was felt by Arial Pena who was the pitcher that gave up the three consecutive home runs during the eighth inning.
On offense, the Brewers struggled to get anything rolling after Bumgarner left the game as the Giants bullpen proceeded to post up zeros for the rest of the game. Scooter Gennett was the true bright spot of an offense that managed to pick up eight hits, but couldn't match the output of their opponents. Gennett went 2/3 including that home run mentioned earlier, but him and Domingo Santana were the only players able to record more than one hit.
Tomorrow's matchup won't give the Brewers much of a chance to bounce back offensively as they will face recently acquired Johnny Cueto. On many other ball clubs Cueto would be seen as the ace, but nevertheless his quirky mechanics will be put to the test for the first time in a Giants' uniform on Tuesday.
Jimmy Nelson is scheduled to throw for Milwaukee with the hope that he can last more than four innings as the starter for them did today. This game was full of interesting surprises, including the offensive explosion of the Giant offense and Madison Bumgarner's struggles, but who knows what to expect when it's an even year!