Look, I really didn’t intend to let the Yandy Diaz hype leak into this game recap. I love him, sure, but this is Opening Day and the entire Cleveland Indians team deserves our undivided attention — not just this Very Large Man who has not proven anything in the majors yet. It’s a fun little schtick that will probably die down when Yandy inevitably starts to look like a rookie in the major leagues.
BUT GUYS DID YOU SEE YANDY DIAZ OUT THERE, GOOD LORD.
The rookie third baseman had a very rookie at-bat in the third inning with a strikeout looking on three-straight pitches on the outside corner. To be fair to Yandy, Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish was working well early on and all three pitches would be hard to take for even the hardiest of veterans.
Things changed quickly.
Diaz faced Darvish again in the fifth inning, but he saw more pitches up and in, taking three balls before swinging on a 3-1 count. The ball was scorched at over 107 MPH to shortstop Elvis Andrus, who fumbled it for an error that allowed Yandy to get on base. Diaz followed that up with a big double in the seventh inning that culminated in him scoring on a wild pitch, and oh yeah, a spectacular diving grab that prevented a base hit.
Ok, for real this time. Done with the Yandy hype, we’ll leave that to Schlichting on Thursday. Instead, let’s talk about Corey Kluber.
Kluber looked downright bad for the first couple innings. Thanks to three home runs (two off the bat of Rougned Odor), the Indians found themselves in a 5-1 hole early. Kluber’s slider had no movement, and he was failing to induce swinging strikes — something he normally does with the same effort it takes most people to breath.
Something clicked in the third inning, though, and he dominated for the final half of his outing.
For comparison, here’s a quick breakdown of swinging strikes induced by Kluber throughout the night, by inning, and how his inning generally went:
- First inning: 1 <— this was bad
- Second inning: 0 <— this was really bad
- Third inning: 1 <— things started to get better
- Fourth inning: 1 <— continued to cruise
- Fifth inning: 1 <— still held on
- Sixth inning: 4 <— KLUBOT ACTIVATED [DESTROY]
Unfortunately, by the time Kluber was rounding into form he was already over 100 pitches, so he was never seen again past the sixth inning. Dan Otero and newcomer Boone Logan held down the fort, though, while Edwin Encarnacion did his thing by absolutely crushing a baseball and busting out the Edwing for the first time in an Indians uniform.
Carlos Santana doubled twice, Jose Ramirez homered, Tyler Naquin had a great couple of at-bats, and Andrew Miller did not miss a beat from last season. But the most important story of the night? It was a come-from-behind win. This team didn’t give up, and the offense was able to make up for a bad start.
If you took this game and showed it to the 2015 Indians they’d burn you at the stake for being a witch. Proclamations after Opening Day are meaningless, but there’s enough evidence here to say we’re in for a fun season, even if everything doesn’t click for all nine innings.
Buckle up, Tribe fans.