For the first time since 2014, the Milwaukee Brewers are 1-0.
It did, however, take a little bit longer than hoped, as they scratched out a 2-1 win in 12 innings over the San Diego Padres on Thursday.
Here’s our three takeaways from the victory.
1) Chase Anderson is still rolling
Coming off the best season of his career, Anderson picked up where he left off. He gave up just one hit over six scoreless innings, while tallying six strikeouts. The 30-year-old really had his curveball working, as it routinely dropped in and out of the strike zone at the last moment, leaving hitters baffled. Anderson, especially early, pounded the strike zone, allowing him to work ahead in a lot of counts.
But he wasn’t only pitching well. He also got it done offensively, with a single and run scored in the third inning, though his journey home wasn’t a pleasant one. Despite there not being a play at the plate, Anderson tried to slide and nearly bounced his head off home base.
All of it came, according to Adam McCalvey of MLB.com, while dealing with a stomach virus that had Anderson questioning if he would even be able to pitch. Luckily for Milwaukee, he did pitch and did so like the ace he has become for the club.
2) Welcome to Milwaukee
The Brewers offseason was largely centered around the additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. It’s safe to say the early returns on the two outfielders were very positive.
Batting in the lead off spot, Cain collected three hits, including a single with two outs in the third inning that moved Anderson into scoring position. In the next at-bat, Yelich followed up with a single of his own that brought Anderson around to score.
The top of Milwaukee’s lineup was in flux much of last season, so manager Craig Counsell has to feel good knowing he can write those two names in almost every day.
3) Small gamble pays off
Few, if any, thought Ji-Man Choi would still be with Milwaukee when it opened the season. He had been locked in a battle with fellow first baseman Jesus Aguiliar for what many thought was one roster spot. But when the club revealed the Opening Day roster, Choi was on it, leaving the Brewers with a bit of a logjam at first base.
The reason for it, according to general manager David Stearns, was his belief they could get away with having one fewer reliever early in the season. That thinking paid big dividends on Thursday, as Choi, serving as a pinch hitter, drilled a double with two outs in the top of the 12th inning. Shortstop Orlando Arcia drove Choi in for what proved to be the game-winning run.
It’s unclear how much longer Choi will be with the club, as he does have a minor league option available and Milwaukee has reportedly agreed to a deal with reliever Dan Jennings. But even if he does end up in Triple-A, it’s likely we haven’t seen the last of the 26-year-old in the majors.