MLB.com's Jordan Bastian is reporting that Terry Francona has stated that Corey Kluber will be the Tribe's starter when they open the season in Progressive Field against the Boston Red Sox on April 4.
Announcing an Opening Day starting pitcher is not much more than fanfare at this point -- whoever starts the first game does not carry any kind of advantage over the other four starting pitchers -- but it is still fun. It means baseball is that much closer, and it means we can start envisioning what the game is going to look like. The Cleveland Indians are a bit late to the Opening Day starter party this year, but they may be finally joining soon.
It should not come as much of a surprise that Kluber is the starter, as the 2014 American League Cy Young-winner still looked like his usual cyborg-self last season, but there was at least a chance Carlos Carrasco was going to get the nod this year. Carrasco finished the 2015 season with a 3.63 ERA and 2.84, compared to Kluber's 3.49 ERA and 2.97 FIP. A case could be made for either to be the team's true "ace pitcher," but Kluber will carry the official banner as Opening Day starter.
This will be Kluber's second year as the Indians' Opening Day starter, making him the 20th pitcher to start consecutive Opening Days since 1913. He still has a ways to go to catch up to Bob Feller, who leads the team with seven career Opening Day starts between the 1930s and 1940s. He would have had several more, all in a row, if he had not missed three years of his career while serving in the United States Navy in World War II.