Replay: Cubs 4, Brewers 0, final on opening day
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That's a wrap. Brewers lose to the Cubs, 4-0
There will be better days in 2023.
The Brewers offense musters only four singles, and Chicago scores all its runs in a defense-aided four-run third. Corbin Burnes only struck out three batters and battled some control issues, but a couple key misplays by Willy Adames aided Chicago, though it may not have mattered without any offense from the Brewers.
Jesse Winker and William Contreras combined for one hit (a Contreras single in the ninth) and six strikeouts. Brice Turang did log his first Major League hit on an infield single, and Gus Varland worked a scoreless inning in his first big-league appearance. The bullpen registered five strikeouts in three scoreless frames.
Injury to insult: Urías hurt sliding into first?
One more bad note for the Brewers. Luis Urías, trying to beat out a screamer that bounced off the pitcher Fulmer, drove into first base and grabbed at the back of his leg, in the hamstring or quad area, and walked gingerly off the field. He was out on the play, the second out of the ninth inning, but that's definitely something to watch heading into the rest of the series.
Javy Guerra carves up the Cubs in the eighth
Milwaukee's bullpen has thrown up zeroes in three straight innings, with newcomer Javy Guerra needing just eight pitches to dismiss three batters in order, getting two flyouts and a K. The pitching hasn't been the problem today, even if Burnes wasn't his normal electric self. The offense has one last crack to salvage some scoring against closer Michael Fulmer.
Jesse Winker has now struck out three times
It has not been a good day for the Brewers biggest offseason additions. William Contreras and now Jesse Winker both have struck out three times, and Willy Adames grounded into an inning-ending double play. The inning started positively with a Christian yelich walk, but that's it.
Cubs bring their 4-0 lead to the bottom of the eighth.
Javy Guerra checking in to make his Brewers debut for the Brewers.
A familiar face checks in for the Cubs
Brad Boxberger is in to pitch for the Cubs in the eighth. Last year, he'd be an option for the Brewers late in the game, to the tune of a bullpen-leading 70 appearances. But the two sides parted ways this offseason, so now he's in to hold a Cubs lead against his old club.
Varland works into trouble with two outs but escapes
First MLB strikeout for Gus Varland. #Brewers // #ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/jQHOLbGMj8
— Bally Sports Wisconsin (@BallySportWI) March 30, 2023
Not a bad showing for either Brewers player making their major-league debut, though Gus Varland ran into trouble after two quick outs.
He allowed singles to Dansby Swanson (third one today) and Ian Happ before working ahead of Cody Bellinger, then losing him with a walk to load the bases. But Trey Mancini hit a topspin-heavy dribbler to Rowdy Tellez for the last out.
Varland struck out the first batter he faced, Miles Mastrobuoni, on three pitches, and then got Nico Hoerner to ground out. It's still 4-0, Cubs, as we head to the eighth.
Nothing doing again for the Brewers, and Gus Varland is on to make his big-league debut
The Brewers get a two-out walk from Brian Anderson but nothing more, with a second straight foul out by Luis Urías and a strikeout from Garrett Mitchell. Turang gave one a ride to center but it was caught shy of the warning track.
And now we have Gus Varland in to pitch for the Brewers. The Rule 5 selection is making his Major League debut, the 17th Brewers player to make his ML debut on opening day (with Turang the 16th earlier today).
Brewers have six outs left to generate anything on offense.
Strezelecki gets three groundouts and now the Brewers get a shot at the Cubs bullpen
Peter Strzelecki gets three groundouts to the left side and needs only 10 pitches to work through the sixth. Now, it's the Cubs turn to use their bullpen with Keegan Thompson taking the mound.
Stroman was excellent today, allowing three hits in six shutout innings, all singles. He struck out eight and issued three walks.
Neither team has an extra-base hit today.
Dansby Swanson with a beautiful play at shortstop and Brewers go quietly again, Burnes out of the game
The offense still hasn't shown much for Milwaukee on opening day. Willy Adames struck a ball well to the hole at shortstop but Dansby Swanson did what he's paid to do, make some sensational defensive plays. Rowdy Tellez then went down on a check swing and William Contreras struck out for the third time today. Yikes.
Cubs fans giving Marcus Stroman a round of applause as he gestures toward the home fans on his way to the dugout. That's six shutout innings for Stroman.
Peter Strzelecki checks in for the Brewers from the bullpen. Burnes finishes with three strikeouts, three walks, a hit batsman and four hits allowed, all singles. But he's on the hook for four earned runs.
This is very similar to Burnes' debut in this park on opening day last year, when he allowed three walks, four hits and three runs with four strikeouts in a loss. He still came back to have a superb year. He only allowed one hit over 6⅓ and somehow took the loss in his first start of 2021.
Burnes gets two more punchouts in the fifth
Corbin Burnes makes it through the fifth with no further scars, though he did allow a liner to Dansby Swanson leading off the fifth that turned into a single (a lunging snare by Luis Urías kept it from being more). Burnes then added two more strikeouts to his ledger in retiring the next three batters. No extra-base hits allowed today for Burnes, but he still is facing a 4-0 deficit as the game moves to the sixth.
Leadoff runner wasted in the fifth for the Brewers
The Brewers offense looks like it's feeling every bit of the 42-degree temperatures at Wrigley Field. After a sharp single by Brian Anderson, the next three Brewers (Turant, Yelich, Winker) hit slow rollers to the right side and the inning ends with nothing across. The Cubs still lead, 4-0.
Hard to say anyone on offense has looked good thus far. Winker has two strikeouts and an inning-ending groundout with a runner at third. Contreras has struck out twice. Yelich has a walk, strikeout and slow groundout. Willy Adames has a single and a walk to lead the way.
Burnes needs just seven pitches in the fourth
After every Cubs batter saw the plate in the third, the minimum face Burnes in the fourth, with only seven pitches needed for two groundouts and a flyout. Burnes still just has one strikeout today.
Brewers with three weak outs in the fourth
William Contreras struck out looking (and had words for home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa, who isn't making friends today), Luis Urias popped out in foul territory and Garrett Mitchell hit a slow roller along the first base line. The Cubs take their 4-0 lead to the bottom of the fourth.
It's now 4-0 against Burnes
Corbin Burnes has just one strikeout through two outs in the third, which is pretty uncharacteristic for him. At the same time, he's also allowed three walks, and one just scored when Willy Adames made his second miscue of the inning, getting to second base late trying for a force out when a throw across to first would have been the play.
It would have been the third out. Instead it's a fourth run on a fielder's choice. Turning into a disaster on opening day for the Cubs as we head to the top of the fourth.
All of those runs will go into the book as earned but Burnes has been betrayed by his defense. Adames with two mistakes and Rowdy not making a throw home, plus being unable to make a diving play (which was a higher degree of difficulty but makeable).
Brewers fall behind Cubs with ugly third inning
With one out and a runner at first, Nico Hoerner sent an opposite-field single past Rowdy Tellez to put runners at the corners. Dansby Swanson then singled in a run, and the Cubs got another when Willy Adames cut off the throw and tried to catch Swanson off first base and he threw it away. It looked like Tellez had plenty of time to throw out Hoerner at the plate once he retrieve the ball, but he held it instead. Ugly.
It's 2-0, Cubs, in the third. It's an error on Adames (not Turang, as I first thought).
Brewers load the bases with one out but Rowdy hits into an inning-ending double play
Brewers miss a golden opportunity in the third, loading the bases with one out, but Rowdy Tellez pulled a grounder to Hoerner at second base, and the Cubs are able to turn the double play by a step. It's still scoreless heading to the bottom of the third.
A first career hit and first pitch clock violation in a span of five minutes
First MLB hit for @BRiCEcTuRANG!#ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/GSCX1iaWXK
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) March 30, 2023
Brice Turang used his wheels to rush a throw from Cubs second baseman Nico Hoerner, and he was awarded his first Major League hit (with a trip to second base on the overthrow). Christian Yelich then battled back for a walk, helped along when Marcus Stroman committed a pitch-clock violation for ball two in the at-bat. It's an inning of firsts so far, and the Brewers are in business.
Sweet double play for Urías and Turang in the second
Fittingly for a defensively savvy player, Brice Turang's first action in his Major League debut came on defense, when he turned around a throw from Luis Urías at third base for a 6-4-3 double play in the second inning. Burnes snared a comebacker from Eric Hosmer to end the inning thereafter.
Turang now leads off the third in a scoreless game. Urías made a nice pick on the ball by Yan Gomes to get the double play started.
Brewers go 1-2-3 in the second against Stroman
Brian Anderson is called out looking for the fourth Marcus Stroman strikeout of the game, and the Brewers come up empty in the second. Brice Turang will have his first Major League at-bat leading off in the third.
Burnes allows a walk in a scoreless first
Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson flew out and Cody Bellinger grounded out after an Ian Happ two-out walk. We go to the top of the second with no score.
Contreras strikes out and here comes Corbin Burnes
William Contreras goes down swinging to end the first, and Marcus Stroman winds up with three punchouts in the first inning. Here comes Corbin Burnes, the 2021 Cy Young Award winner, for his first work of the 2023 regular season.
Willy Adames singles for the season's first hit
It won't be a 1-2-3 first inning for the Cubs as Willy Adames lofts a single into left field for the first hit of the 2023 season. Adames had an interesting offensive year last year, hitting 31 homers but reaching base at a sub-.300 clip.
Adames moves to second on a passed ball to Rowdy Tellez, giving the Brewers their first RBI opportunity of the season. Tellez walks, so here comes William Contreras for his first Brewers at-bat.
First pitch at 1:20 p.m., 42 degrees, 10 mile-per hour winds
Christian Yelich takes a ball inside from Marcus Stroman, though he strikes out to start the year when the next three pitches are all in there, with a called third strike to close it down. Marcus Stroman pounds the strike zone early, getting ahead of Jesse Winker, 0-2, before throwing his second ball. Winker then strikes out on a check swing.
Baseball season is here for 2023, even if it's a dubious start for the Brewers.
Pat Hughes getting honored before the game
Pat Hughes, who was named the 2023 Ford C. Frick Award recipient and will be part of induction weekend for the Baseball Hall of Fame later this year, throws out the ceremonial first pitch. Hughes was voice of the Brewers alongside Bob Uecker on radio broadcasts from 1984-1995.
Big flags can be dangerous
— JR Radcliffe (@JRRadcliffe) March 30, 2023
It looks like one of the many folks on hand to unfurl the giant flag during the National Anthem fell during the unfurling and needed some help getting off the field. I guess that's an inauspicious start?
We've had a flyover, a couple songs and we're ready for baseball here at Wrigley Field. Just about 15 minutes to first pitch.
Hey look, it's Brad Boxberger
Both teams are getting introduced on their respective baselines, and Brad Boxberger's name gets announced for the Cubs. Boxberger made 70 appearances last year to lead the Brewers bullpen, posting a 2.95 ERA. The re-fashioned Brewers bullpen this year has a ton of new faces.
Cubs lineup includes some names you'll recognize from other teams
The Chicago Cubs added some veteran names this offseason, and you'll recognize them below, including Cody Bellinger, the former Dodgers outfielder who has struggled in the years since he won the 2019 MVP — not unlike his counterpart in that year's awards chase, Christian Yelich.
Dansby Swanson was the team's biggest free-agent signing, coming to the team from the Braves. Former Padres and Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer will make his Cubs debut, as will Trey Mancini, the former Orioles slugger who finished last season with Houston.
Nico Hoerner, second base
Dansby Swanson, shortstop
Ian Happ, left field
Cody Bellinger, center field
Trey Mancini, designated hitter
Yan Gomes, catcher
Eric Hosmer, first base
Patrick Wisdom, third base
Miles Mastrobuoni, right fielder
Marcus Stroman, starting pitcher
Freddy Peralta has even more reason to smile
As if another opening day on the Brewers roster wasn't enough, right-hander Freddy Peralta had another great reason to unleash that mega-watt smile on Thursday.
That's because he and his wife, Maritza, welcomed a 9-pound, 9-ounce baby boy named Freddy Jr. in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
The Peraltas also have a daughter, Norah.
Peralta is scheduled to start the home opener Monday against the New York Mets.
Christian Yelich at leadoff looks like a permanent fixture
Last season, Christian Yelich started games in the leadoff spot more and more often in the latter half of the season, and that's a trend that's going to continue in 2023, starting with today's opener.
"With Yelich and Jesse (Winker) at the top of the lineup, essentially we're trying to be on base a ton," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said before the game. "That's going to give a lot of RBI opportunities hopefully to the guys hitting behind them. Those guys will be on-base a ton against right-handed pitching."
The Brewers have five left-handers in the lineup against Cubs right-handed starter Marcus Stroman on Thursday.
Turang prepared for opening day with a full-fledged suit
Brice Turang, suited up for his first day in the big leagues. pic.twitter.com/t7ITPOmCdH
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 30, 2023
The starting second baseman came to his Major League debut dressed for success.
Brice Turang got off the bus in a full-fledged suit; Craig Counsell said before the game that Turang's father, Brian, made the suggestion. Brian is a former big leaguer who was initially drafted out of high school by the Brewers.
"I thought that was just awesome," Counsell said about Brice's fit. "In another era, that was more commonplace; I thought that was great. I feel like Brice realizes it's special. It's a cool little tradition. Maybe he continues that tradition for the rest of his career. That's cool."
Counsell said Turang was going to play regularly now that he's with the big-league team.
Turang said his whole family will be at the game today, including his parents, four sisters and six nieces and nephews, all age 4 and younger.
Some scenes from Wrigley Field
You want green grass and fans getting ready for the start of the year? Here you go.
Special patch for players making Major League debut
Check this out: MLB is also giving players making their Major League debut a specialty patch for the occasion starting today.
That patch will stay part of the uniform ensemble until the player makes his debut, so Gus Varland will wear it as many days as necessary until he gets into a game.
Cool idea. No added pressure, guys!
In other uniform minutiae, Turang is wearing No. 0, last worn by Mario Feliciano but previously worn before that by Curtis Leskanic in 2001. And Markus Howard, of course, for the Marquette fans.
Made for the moment. Starting #OpeningDay, every player making their Major League debut will wear an “MLB Debut” patch on their uniform for their first game! That patch will then be added to @Topps trading cards, creating the ultimate rookie card. pic.twitter.com/Acs5dxZWRD
— MLB (@MLB) March 30, 2023
Brewers 2023 opening day lineup vs. Cubs
You saw Brice Turang's emotional reaction to learning he'd made the team out of camp. Now, you'll get to see him in action right away.
Turang is starting for the Brewers in Chicago and playing second base and batting ninth. He'll become the seventh Brewers player to make his Major League debut in the starting lineup on opening day and the 16th player making his debut in the first game of the season.
Christian Yelich, left field
Jesse Winker, designated hitter
Willy Adames, shortstop
Rowdy Tellez, first base
William Contreras, catcher
Luis Urías, third base
Garrett Mitchell, center field
Brian Anderson, right field
Brice Turang, second base
Corbin Burnes, starting pitcher
📻: @620wtmj#ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/6JSlJ9Dobt
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) March 30, 2023
More: What national writers are saying about the Brewers' chances in 2023
More: The Brewers have just over $33 million committed to their starting rotation this season. That's an absolute bargain.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brewers lose to Cubs, 4-0, in 2023 season opener