It was not Corey Kluber’s best outing, as he gave up 4 ER on 9 hits, striking out 5 and walking 2.
At the time I’m writing this, it’s been several hours since the Indians’ rescheduled home opener ended and I left for my house. I still can’t get warm. I feel like I may never be warm again. The sun made things bearable (despite the fact this was supposedly the coldest opening day in Indians history) but unfortunately our seats were not in the sun. I actually missed the Red Sox pulling ahead 4-2 because I was in the team shop buying socks. I was already wearing two pair, but that simply wasn’t enough. I’d make a joke about the Indians’ bats being fairly cold, or the team’s inability to warm things up on the field, but I just don’t have the energy. I had to stay up working until 2 a.m. last night to make sure that I could make arrangements to attend an unplanned day game today, after I’d already planned for one yesterday. I’m honestly not complaining about this; I consider myself fairly lucky that I was able to make arrangements to go back to Progressive Field today (I’m sure many were not as lucky). I’m just trying to make the point that I feel like I’ve gone 12 rounds with someone at this point in the evening. I expect nothing less from an Indians home opener…they are all terrible.
The Indians had no luck against David Price until the fourth inning, when Francisco Lindor led off the bottom of the inning with a single. After singles from Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes, and a sacrifice fly from Marlon Byrd, the Indians tied the score at 2. It was a strange day in the sense that the Indians looked outmatched against Price for the most part, yet they still managed to cause a few problems and run up his pitch count. A few walks and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second actually had the Indians threatening, without a single hit. There was one point where I think Mike Napoli had an 11-pitch at-bat against him. The best they could manage though were those two runs in the bottom of the fourth though. They were only able to get five total hits, all against Price.
There were a number of times in the past where 2 runs would’ve sufficed for a pitcher of Corey Kluber’s caliber. Today was not one of those days. Kluber was not at his sharpest, giving up 4 ER on 9 hits, striking out 5. I guess the most accurate way to describe it would be to say that he was uneven; there were moments that he looked like the Kluber we all know and love. At other points he looked like an average pitcher that the Red Sox could hit with relative ease. As good as Kluber has been over the past few years, April is not his sharpest month. In 2014 when he won the Cy Young, batters hit .299/.343/.409 off of him in April, and his ERA was 4.14. Last season, he had a 4.24 ERA in April, as batters hit .277/.324/.377. As a comparison, taking the full season into account last year, batters hit .231/.279/.371 off of Kluber, and .233/.279/.345 in a full season in 2014. For some reason, this is a team that just struggles to win in April; hopefully as the weather warms up, Kluber and the rest of the team will as well.
Kluber only lasted 5 1/3 innings today. After he left, Jeff Manship, Ross Detwiler, and Joba Chamberlain combined for 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Manship entered a dicey situation in the sixth, but managed to get Mookie Betts to ground into a double play to end the inning. When Detwiler entered the game in the seventh, the bases were loaded and there was just one out. He managed to strike out Travis Shaw, and then got Brock Holt to line out to escape danger. Joba Chamberlain gave up a lead-off walk to Blake Swihart, but Yan Gomes gunned him down trying to steal second and he allowed nobody else to reach base.
If you’ve been doing the math, you’ll realize that I only mentioned 8 innings worth of pitchers; that’s because that final inning went to Trevor Bauer’s debut as a reliever. At this point in the game I wasn’t overly optimistic, but the Indians were only down by two runs. A walk and a mistake over the plate meant that the Indians could at least tie the game at four. Unfortunately, Bauer made a long-shot comeback even more of a long-shot after he walked Dustin Pedroia and gave up a two-run home run to David Ortiz. The very next batter, Hanley Ramirez, just missed hitting a home run as well – he ended up with a very long single. I initially thought that they just played Ramirez’s hit well off the wall (which they kind of did), but someone said that Ramirez spent some time admiring his shot before he took off for first.
Was this a good home opener? No. Was it the worst one ever? Not really. It was miserably cold, but a 6-2 game isn’t the worst possible outcome. When the game was still 2-2, my dad turned to my friend and I and said “so what do we think…maybe 17 innings today?” At least if they were going to lose, they had the decency to do so in 9 innings. That’s about the most positive thing I can say about today’s game.