Tribe falls to 0-1
In the baseball dreams you had all winter, the Indians probably managed to collect more than three lousy singles on Opening Day, but not every dream comes true. (Just the ones about showing up to school naked... That did happen to everyone, and not just me, right?)
The Tribe was dominated by Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel Monday night in Houston, with Lonnie Chisenhall, Carlos Santana, and Yan Gomes collecting the team's only hits. Chisenhall, Santana, and Brandon Moss each also drew a walk, but that was it in terms of base runners on the night. Only once all game did the Indians manage to put two runners on at the same time, after Santana and Gomes led off the inning with back-to-back singles (Gomes would have had a double if not for a great play for former Indian Luis Valbuena at third base). It was a great opportunity, but Moss struck out, and Ryan Raburn and Chisenhall each tapped out to the pitcher.
Hitting lefties was a problem for the Tribe last season, and while one game is way, way, WAY too small a sample to draw serious conclusions from, the lineup certainly isn't off to a better showing in 2015.
Was there any good news this evening? (Other than the return of baseball itself, which is of course the best news possible.) Yes, yes there was.
Corey Kluber picked up where he left off last September, looking tremendous. He retired the first seven batters he faced, and didn't allow a hit until defending batting champ Jose Altuve blooped a single into shallow center field with two outs in the 6th inning. Unfortunately, Altuve was allowed a huge jump and stole second base, and then scored on a single to left field by George Springer. Michael Brantley fielded the ball in semi-shallow left field before Altuve even got to third, but Doc Smooth's throw was way off target, allowing the run to score.
With one out in the 7th, Kluber gave up back-to-back base runners, at which time Terry Francona did cartwheels to the mound, so excited was he to make his first pitching change of the season. Scott Atchison gave up a sacrifice fly that allowed one of the runners to come in, giving Kluber a final line of 2 runs allowed on 3 hits in 7.1 innings, with 7 strikeouts and 2 walks. Anything is possible with the Klubot on the mound, so it's not as though tonight was his best, but he was pretty darn good, and just about the last person who should be blamed for the loss.
Michael Bourn, Jason Kipnis, and Brantley each went 0 for 4, which is a tough result for the 1-2-3 hitters. Kipnis and Brantley each made very solid contact at least once on the night, and while Bourn didn't really do that, he did work some counts and see some pitches, which is an important thing for the leadoff man. Good contact and working the counts is all well and good, but don't let me go too far in sugarcoating what was an awful night for the Tribe lineup.
MLB likes to stagger games during the first few days, giving almost every team a day off before Friday, but not wanting them all to come at once, so the Indians and Astros will have tomorrow off, before picking the series back up Wednesday night. Carlos Carrasco will be on the hill for the Tribe, while the right-handed (yes!) Scott Feldman will go for Houston.
Hopefully the bats arrive from Goodyear by then.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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