It’s the 103rd Opening Day at Fenway Park, and it’s an extra special one for the Red Sox, as they’re set to get their rings before the start of their first game against the Milwaukee Brewers. And as for the series, the stars are in their favor there, too.
It’s unnecessary to say that a team that won the World Series has everything it takes to beat a team that won 74 games. Not to mention, that doesn’t make it an automatic sweep either.
Still, Milwaukee had some of the worst pitching in baseball in 2013 according to Fangraphs. They added to it with Matt Garza, but the Red Sox won’t be facing Garza. They’ll be facing Marco Estrada, Wily Peralta, and Yovani Gallardo. Estrada has one of the best strikeout-to-walk ratios in the past two seasons. Still, his fly-ball rate is high, and that might prove to be a major home field advantage for the Sox. Estrada will be facing Jake Peavy. Peralta is young and still relatively new to the league, so he has only started one season and didn’t do very well. That might fare well for Clay Buchholz, who gets the start against Peralta and is getting a fresh start after being injured for much of last season. Gallardo started Opening Day for the Brewers and didn’t have the best game, with four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts over six innings. But the Brewers were still able to shut out the Braves that game. Gallardo could benefit from the fact that Jon Lester doesn’t have great stats against some of the current Brewers.
Offensively and defensively, the Brewers aren’t half bad. The Sox are better in both respects, but it’s not as though they’re facing the Houston Astros. They have good hitters in guys like Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, and Aramis Ramirez, to name a few. Jean Segura is good as well, and provides a lot of speed to their base running. National League teams in American League parks also have the advantage of getting a designated hitter instead of having their pitcher hit. However, Braun is their DH, at least for Game 1, and it’s not immediately clear if being clean is going to have an effect on the way he plays.