Indians fans celebrated Corey Kluber‘s AL Cy Young Award all during the off-season. As only the 4th Indians pitcher to win the award, the celebrating was well deserved. But being Cleveland sports fans and used to disappointment, there was a lingering fear that nagged just outside the light of our celebration. What if last season was a fluke? What if the Klubot somehow blew a circuit over the winter? We aren’t used to having nice things. Plus, Kluber just signed a long-term contract with the team, which has routinely been the kiss of death.
The good news is that Corey Kluber pitched a great 7.1 innings in the season opener against the Houston Astros on Monday night. He gave up 3 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, and struck out seven. He is ready to pick up where he left off last season. The bad news is the Indians offense has some catching up to do. Granted, Houston starter Dallas Keuchel didn’t make it any easier for the Indians than Kluber did for the Astros. Keuchel’s line: 7.0 innings, 3 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts. The key difference being, no earned (or unearned) runs.
The Indians wasted a golden chance in the top of the 7th with a lead-off single from Carlos Santana followed by a single from Yan Gomes. After Brandon Moss struck out, Ryan Raburn grounded out to first but advanced Santana and Gomes to 3rd and 2nd. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Lonnie Chisenhall swung at the first pitch and grounded out. Final score, Astros 2, Indians 0.
A good pitchers’ duel is a lot of fun to watch. And it’s great for those folks who want to speed up the pace of the game, as the opener ran just 2:30. A win today would have given the Tribe their first set of three consecutive Opening Day wins since the Kennedy administration (1961-1963). Disappointing loss? Yes. 161 games to go? Also yes. Bring it on.