TORONTO — I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit worried.
There’s no reason I should have been worried. The Blue Jays are an historically terrible franchise. The Brewers are one of the best teams in the American League, if not in baseball. But this is based on last season’s results.
We’ve waited six months, and when you wait six months you tend to drive yourself crazy. Did the Brewers make the right moves? Are they good enough to take the AL East? Might last season have been a mirage? What if they don’t get off to a good start?
Baseball fans are a crazy bunch. If our team doesn’t win on Opening Day, those questions, as irrational as they may be, spin through our heads until our team wins. And playing a horrendous team like the Blue Jays may make it even worse. You must win. If you don’t, something’s got to be wrong.
Thankfully, the Brewers wasted no time assuring their fan base that they were the superior team on Opening Day. Their first five batters reached base. Toronto starter Mark Bomback couldn’t even make it through the first inning. In the end, 11 Brewers batters came to the plate in the first, and before Pete Vuckovich even took the mound he was staked to a 6-0 lead.
How good was Opening Day for the Brewers? The six run first inning wasn’t even their most productive. They scored seven more in the sixth when another 11 batters came to the plate.
The Brewers won 15-4. The game was as lopsided as we had hoped it would be. There was no doubt which was the better team. The Brewers scored 15 runs on 16 hits, highlighted by three hits apiece from Cecil Cooper, Robin Yount and Ben Oglivie (who also hit his first homer).
Looking for something to be concerned about? The Brewers’ defense committed two errors. Staff ace Pete Vuckovich was sharp early, but couldn’t finish strong. Against a light hitting offense, Vuke allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks in six innings. But he should be fine. And the bullpen, which allowed only a hit in three innings, was fantastic.
Breathe, Brewers fans. Opening Day has come and gone. And this team is just as good as we thought it was.
Game Notes: Second baseman Jim Gantner was the only starter without at least a hit and RBI. Said Gantner: “Somebody had to make the outs or we’d still be out there” … Toronto starter Mark Bomback allowed 6 runs in a third of an inning to start the season with a 168.00 ERA … Pete Vuckovich didn’t allow a ball out of the infield until the 4th when Ernie Whitt smacked a two-run homer … Larry Hisle singled but struck out four times … Robin Yount hit seventh because of a lingering hamstring issue. Ed Romero replaced him in the 6th … Ted Simmons, nursing a calf pull, hopes to return to the lineup soon.