Brewers fans, rejoice.
The first month of the season is in the books, but for the Milwaukee Brewers, who sit at a humbled 13-14 record, the season has only just begun.
The long-awaited debut of their renowned offseason acquisition, Zack Greinke will make his first start against one of the National League's most impressive teams in the Atlanta Braves.
Expectations are running higher with each passing moment, but the belief is that Greinke will become an unprecedented ace on Ron Roenicke's staff.
What will his 2011 season bring about?
Here are five bold predictions for Milwaukee's ace in the making.
This one is a no-brainer that has already come true to some extent.
Brewers fans are some of the most welcoming fans in the league, and it wouldn't surprise me if they granted him a standing ovation when he makes his first start at Miller Park in just over a week.
In just seven complete seasons with the Royals, Greinke boasted a 3.82 ERA in just over 1,100 innings of work.
In his best season, coming in 2009, Greinke managed to win the AL Cy Young Award with the help of his league-leading 2.16 ERA, 242 strikeouts and 16-8 record.
Let's remember: the Royals scored just 686 runs in 2009, good enough to be 23rd best in the entire major leagues.
What do you suppose will happen once he joins the league's most formidable power-hitting ballclub in Milwaukee?
With a lethal offensive unit at the plate, Greinke should be more than capable of putting up a solid effort in each of his many starts this season.
Zealously is a recurring theme for the Milwaukee Brewers this season.
Since 2008, Greinke has registered over 70 quality starts and 10 complete games while in Kansas City—making him one of the foremost reliable starting pitchers in the game today.
Can he be as reliable in Milwaukee?
As history has told us, the answer to that question is a resounding "yes."
At just 27 years of age, Greinke was an undisputed ace of an American League Central Division chock-full of power lineups. That being said, the National League Central Division is no fluke, either.
Nevertheless, expect Greinke to register at least 20 quality starts with the Brewers in 2011.
You heard right.
In seven career seasons, Greinke hasn't seen many National League lineups, and the Atlanta Braves are no exception.
Over seven innings of work, Greinke gave up three earned runs and while striking out five on his way to a no-decision against the Braves on June 19, 2010. Don't expect history to repeat itself this time around.
As it stands, Yovani Gallardo is the ace of Ron Roenicke's pitching staff, and will hold true to that title until dethroned from his pedestal.
If there's one guy capable of dethroning him, however, Greinke is the man.
Though I've been rather hesitant to crown Greinke as Milwaukee's ace in the past, my conceited nature is beginning to transform into a much more positive one.
By the end of the season, expect Greinke to become Milwaukee's most accomplished starting pitcher featured in Roenicke's ever-improving staff.