Changes likely for Brewers in second game vs. Rockies
MILWAUKEE — Brewers manager Craig Counsell hinted all through spring training camp that his second-game lineup might very well look different from their appearance on Opening Day.
It is safe to say he didn’t expect the kind of change in store for the Brewers when they face the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night at Miller Park.
Milwaukee is expected to make a roster move sometime Tuesday morning. A transaction was made necessary when Opening Day starter Junior Guerra sustained a strained right calf while running out a sacrifice bunt in the third inning.
“We’re losing our Opening Day starter for a minimum of two starts, (but) it’s going to be more than that,” Counsell said. “It’s a big blow, for sure but kind of starts the process of what we’ve preached in spring training. It’s not going to be 25 guys, it’s not going to be five starters, it’s not going to be eight relievers. It’s going to take more than that and we’re going to start seeing that tomorrow.”
Counsell is also likely to make changes at catcher, where Jett Bandy — who started Monday — and Manny Pina are expected to split time this season.
The batting order could see an adjustment as well.
Counsell used left-handers Eric Thames and Travis Shaw to sandwich Ryan Braun on Monday but with a left-hander, Tyler Anderson, slated to start for Colorado, look for the Brewers to go heavy on right-handed bats — including super-utility player Hernan Perez.
Perez did not start Monday but figures to slot into a corner infield spot over Shaw or Thames.
“We’re trying to create situations to put hitters in good matchups,” Counsell said.
Right-hander Zach Davies will start for Milwaukee. He is coming off a breakout season in 2016, when he went 11-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 28 starts.
In six Cactus League starts, Davies posted a 2-0 record and a 5.50 ERA.
Colorado will aim for a 2-0 start to the year behind Anderson, who impressed as a rookie a year ago. He went 5-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 19 starts — including a 5-2 record and 3.00 ERA in 12 starts at Coors Field.
Anderson’s preparation has left manager Bud Black and teammates impressed.
“All the notes he takes and all the video he watches and all of the opponents swings and all the data from our analytics department he processes it all,” Black said. “That’s one thing that surprised me. For a young guy, the amount of homework that he does on his own, and also with the pitching coaches and the analytics guys, that surprised me.”
Catcher Tony Wolters credits the 27-year-old’s attitude, as well.
“A lot of times I think he beats batters just by looking at them,” Wolters said.
Anderson faced Milwaukee once before and set a career high with 10 strikeouts but took the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in five innings last Aug. 24.
While Colorado will look for an effective outing, the Rockies also will seek to maintain their productivity at the plate.
The Rockies totaled 10 hits Monday, led by Mark Reynolds, who is starting at first base while Ian Desmond recovers from a broken hand. Reynolds homered, doubled and drove in three runs against the team he played for in 2014.
“I didn’t expect this role right away, obviously,” Reynolds said. “Unfortunately, Ian got hurt. You know, you always got to be ready. You got to be ready to contribute, and I was able to do that today.”