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Some things to read while settling back into your routine. Matt Garza was spectacular in his Milwaukee Brewers debut on Wednesday, but it was not enough. The two teams combined for just five hits in a 1-0 win for the Atlanta Braves. Adam McCalvy has the recap.  A win is more or less the only […]

Some things to read while settling back into your routine.

Matt Garza was spectacular in his Milwaukee Brewers debut on Wednesday, but it was not enough. The two teams combined for just five hits in a 1-0 win for the Atlanta Braves. Adam McCalvy has the recap

A win is more or less the only thing that could have improved Garza’s first Brewers outing, as he allowed a single run on just two hits and a walk while recording seven strikeouts over eight innings. Before yesterday’s start, Derek Harvey of Brew Crew Ball asked if Garza will be worth the $50 million deal the Brewers gave him in the offseason. Today, I’d say all signs point to “yes.”

Yesterday’s game briefly attracted the attention of fans across baseball, as both Garza and Braves starter Aaron Harang took no-hitters into the seventh inning. They came close to matching Fred Toney and Hippo Vaughn in baseball’s history books. Garza lost his no-hitter on Chris Johnson’s solo home run in the top of that frame, and Logan Schafer ended Harang’s bid with a single to lead off the bottom half.

It’s probably too early to overreact to a bad series offensively, but @Haudricourt notes that the Braves’ pitching staff was on the ropes due to injuries and the Brewers still managed just four runs in three games. They’ll almost certainly need to be better if the Brewers are going to play well on the road this weekend. At the very least, Jaymes Langrehr’s Tweet of the Day suggests dire consequences could be afoot if they continue at their current pace:

Other notes from the field:

The Brewers are off today before heading to Boston for the Red Sox home-opener on Friday. Marco Estrada will take on Jake Peavy in that contest, and Adam McCalvy and Ian Browne have the MLB.com preview.

Yovani Gallardo will pitch the final game in that series as he looks to build upon his six scoreless innings from Monday. Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs has a look at the first pitch thrown by all 30 Opening Day starting pitchers, and notes that Gallardo was one of 10 to open the campaign with a ball.

Kyle Lohse won’t pitch in the Boston series, but his turn will come up again when the Brewers open Philadelphia’s home season on Monday. Lohse provided a quality start on Tuesday, but Curt Hogg of Disciples of Uecker is taking a “glass half-empty” approach in his look at the mistakes that led to his three earned runs.

Lohse, by the way, is the latest Brewer to join Twitter. He had to open an account after losing a bet on a game of golf with Will Smith, Tyler Thornburg and Brewers Director of New Media Caitlin Moyer.

On top of being the Brewers’ unofficial Twitter recruiters, Thornburg and Smith are part of a revamped Brewers bullpen that has a combined 3.00 ERA after eight appearances. Jonathan Judge of Disciples of Uecker has a look at the new relief corps and says, “By ‘stuff’ alone, the Brewers seem to have definitely upgraded their ability to keep runs off the board in late innings.”

Brewers batters finished third in the NL with 71 HBP last season, but haven’t been hit in a game yet this year. Gammons Daily notes that Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez are two of just 12 active players that have been hit more than 100 times in their careers. Former Brewer Prince Fielder is also on the list.

One of the biggest changes around baseball this season has been the addition of instant replay and the “challenge” system for disputed calls. That’s certainly added an element to “eye in the sky” John Shelby’s job, and Adam McCalvy talked to him about his role in determining which plays are reviewed.

In the minors:

  • It’s Opening Day today for the Brewers’ four full-season affiliates, with Nashville and Huntsville opening their 2014 seasons on the road, and Brevard County and Wisconsin launching their campaigns at home. The Brewerfan.net Link Report is a great place to check for all of the day’s pitching matchups and more.
  • Seedlings to Stars has a preview of the Pacific Coast League’s American Southern Division, which includes the Nashville Sounds.
  • Marcus Young of Miller Park Prospects has a preview of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
  • Weather permitting, the Timber Rattlers have a lot of promotions planned for their opening homestand.
  • The Brewers will have a little more money to spend this season in an effort to bring new talent to the organization: The spending pools for both the draft and international markets are expected to go up by 1.7 percent for 2014.

Back in Milwaukee, Mark Attanasio made headlines this week by suggesting he would be willing to “help out” with the Bucks’ efforts to finance a new arena downtown. He was also asked about possible interest in buying the team, but told Rich Kirchen of the Milwaukee Business Journal, “I’m not allowed to talk about what I talk about or don’t talk about.” (h/t @markschaaf)

If you’d like more Brewer coverage today but you’re sick of reading, we’ve got options for you from both the past and future:

  • My Wednesday postgame appearance on The Home Stretch with Justin Hull on 95.3 FM WSCO in Appleton has been archived and can be heard here. I spent about 40 minutes in studio talking mostly about Braun, Juan Francisco and Pinterest.
  • Milwaukee Magazine’s Howie Magner joined the Bill Michaels Show Wednesday afternoon (while Garza’s no-hitter was still intact). They talked Brewers, but no Pinterest. 
  • At 5:15 today, I’ll be checking in with The Sports Den with Downtown Ollie Burrows on Sports Fan 100.5 in Wausau, and you can listen live here.
Around baseball:

Angels: Claimed pitcher Michael Brady off waivers from the Marlins. 
Braves: Claimed reliever Pedro Beato off waivers from the Reds.
Dodgers: Claimed infielder Carlos Triunfel off waivers from the Mariners. 
Padres: Claimed pitcher Bobby LaFromboise off waivers from the Mariners.
Rays: Signed pitcher Chris Archer to a six-year, $25.5 million contract extension with club options for 2020 and 2021. 
Rockies: Placed pitcher Tyler Chatwood on the DL with a hamstring strain. 

Meanwhile, it’s possible one of this week’s most notable transactions went completely under the radar: Longtime MLB umpire Tim McClelland is opening the season on the disabled list and will not return to work this season as he deals with a back injury. There’s a strong chance this is the end of the road for one of baseball’s longest-tenured and most respected umpires. 2014 would have been McClelland’s 32nd MLB season. (h/t @Buster_ESPN)

By sitting out this season, though, McClelland will avoid some of the growing pains involved in the implementation of MLB’s new replay procedures. We saw a new wrinkle last night, as Padres manager Bud Black came out to attempt to challenge a call but was unable to do so because his request was not “timely” enough.

Let’s go around the NL Central:

  • Yesterday’s game of the day around baseball was played in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates needed 16 innings and almost six hours to finish off a 4-3 win over the Cubs. The game included a call overturned by replay and a rare 7-2-3 double play.
  • The Reds and Cardinals also played a thriller, with the Reds picking up a 1-0 win on Chris Heisey’s pinch-hit walkoff single. Tony Cingrani threw seven scoreless innings for Cincinnati in the game.
Here are today’s standings and probables:

Team  GB  Today  Matchup 
Pirates —  vs Cubs, 11:35 am  Wandy Rodriguez vs Jason Hammel 
Reds  vs Cardinals, 11:35 am  Homer Bailey vs Lance Lynn 
Cardinals  @ Reds, 11:35 am  Lance Lynn vs Homer Bailey 
Brewers  1.5  OFF   
Cubs  @ Pirates, 11:35 am  Jason Hammel vs Wandy Rodriguez 

Today in former Brewers:

My favorite statistical note from today comes to us via Chris Moran of Beyond the Box Score, who has a look at what happens when hitters swing at 3-0 pitches. The Brewers only had three plate appearances reach 3-0 counts in the Braves series, and all three ended in walks.

It’s relevant to nothing, but I was amused to discover that the Diamondbacks are struggling to keep up with demand for the 18-inch, $25 corn dog they’ve introduced at Chase Field this season. They sold 300 of them on Opening Day alone.

Finally, with help from the Baseball Reference Play Index, we’d like to wish a happy birthday today to:

Plunk Everyone notes that Bosio’s 41 career hit batsmen are the second-most ever for a pitcher born on April 3. Pittsley is also fifth on that list with 10.

Today is also the 16th anniversary of the first-ever meeting between the Brewers and Marlins in 1998, where Jose Valentin homered three times to power the Crew to a 7-1 victory. I covered that event in Today In Brewer History three years ago.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m in the wrong line of work.

Drink up.

Don’t forget to follow Kyle on Twitter @BrewFrostyMug, and check out and “like” the Mug’s new Facebook page. The Frosty Mug runs mornings Monday-Friday and is brought to you by Legends of the Field, a sports memorablila company you can trust.