The Milwaukee Brewers home opener kicks off at American Family Field


Whether you’re grilling hot dogs with your tailgaters in the American Family Field parking lot or watching the game from home, baseball is back. The Milwaukee Brewers’ first home game of 2024 begins Tuesday afternoon.

Since last season, the Brewers have seen major personnel changes. Tim Dillard is a former pitcher for the team and is now an analyst on Brewers broadcasts on Bally Sports Wisconsin. He joined “Morning Edition” host Alex Crowe to preview the season.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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Alex Crowe: Let’s start with what is probably considered one of the most controversial moves of the offseason, and that would be the managerial position. We have Pat Murphy as manager now, what can you tell us about him and the change the Brewers made this offseason?

Pat Murphy gestures as he speaks while sitting next to Rickie Weeks.
Manager Pat Murphy speaks to reporters during a news conference while sitting next to associate manager Rickie Weeks, left, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, at American Family Field in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Angela Mayor/WPR

Tim Dillard: Well, I mean, I think the controversy is pretty obvious. But as far as I can tell, the situation has diminished in the organization as a whole. I mean, it was easy for Pat Murphy to finally get his chance with the Brewers being second in command and dugout for so long.

And what I always like is that as a baseball player, as a coach, you always feel like you can do something better. I mean, how many times have I been in the bullpen yelling, ‘Why are we doing this?’ I feel like Pat Murphy has put together a plan over all these years. And I think it was time to go in, build off of what they’d already done and then add their own mix to it. So it feels like a very natural fit.

AC: Now, let’s move on to what’s actually happening on the field. This is a really important one. Former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes is no longer with the Brewers. Brandon Woodruff is injured. So what will this rotation look like heading into opening day?

TD: Yes, there are many question marks. I think this time last year we were talking about the bullpen, who’s going to fill what role in the bullpen. I think as a Brewers fan and a Brewers broadcaster, you get spoiled a little bit. Because they had so many good headlines that would be repeated consecutively.

But I think one of the reasons they were able to move Burnes and felt comfortable doing so is actually Freddy Peralta and what he was able to do in the second half of last season. He went from having flashes of being an ace at times to literally solidifying that role for 10 or 13 consecutive starts. It was just amazing what he did. And I think the Brewers said, this can be our guy of the future.

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Corbin Burnes throws
Milwaukee Brewers starter Corbin Burnes pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in Milwaukee. Morry Gash/AP Photo

And also Colin Rea. I mean, Colin Rea was very underrated last year. And I think that’s where you’ll see Colin Rea delving into the ball game a little bit more.

Then you’ll see some new names. But these guys are going to gobble up innings, that’s what they’re going to look to do in order to hand that game over to the bullpen.

AC: Offense is an area where the Brewers have struggled recently… So how do we look at offense this season as far as the Crew is concerned?

TD: Well, I mean, if you look at spring training…they tied for third in runs scored, in runs batted in. So that’s a good thing.

But when was the last time the Brewers solidified first base, right? I think what they want is to have a guy who can play every day and look for power. And that’s what they’ll get with Rhys Hoskins.

I mean, William Contreras takes advantage of what he did last year. You can enter and surround the order. Christian Yelich had the pop last year. Gary Sánchez was an extra-base hitting machine in spring training.

So I think there will be a lot of surprises there. And I think they can afford it if a guy doesn’t have an amazing season. And the reason is that they have proven players who have done some things. Look at what Willy Adames did in spring training. So I think everyone got red-hot at a good time coming into the season because that offense will have the pop they were looking for.

Willy Adames drops his bat after home run
Milwaukee Brewers’ Willy Adames drops his bat as he watches his two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Milwaukee. Aaron Gash/AP Photo

AC: I’m not going to ask you where the Brewers will be at the end of this season. But when you look around the division, how did the Brewers perform against the other teams this year?

TD: Well, I probably smile every time I see one of those websites that says these are our projections for this year.

The Brewers are going to be fine. They’re going to take advantage of what they’ve had over the last six or seven seasons about playing immaculate defense. The pitching staff will definitely come together in the bullpen.

You have some question marks about starting just for experience, but more than that, I mean, I think it’s a complete club with depth. And I think that’s probably what will make them successful.


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