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Opening Day Rumblings

Kirthmon F. Dozier via Imagn Content Services, LLC

I typically write about the Cleveland Baseball Team in reference to baseball history, the Hall of Fame, and economics. This year I would like to try an experiment: I wrote my expectations for the season here, in this 'Rumblings' series I want to expand a bit on how the team is meeting what I predicted or not. I will write it out in a three block format: The Good, the Bad, and the Unexpected.

The GOOD!

1. Shane Bieber met expectations.

To be fair: Shane Bieber did 'lose the game' and a 4.50 ERA is not what we came to expect of our ace in 2021, but despite the runs Bieber pitched fairly well. 12 strikeouts remains a high number in any game, and while a wild pitch and three walks is a tad more than we'd like to see (especially against the lowly Tigers): I cannot blame Bieber for this loss. Unfortunately, the starting rotation will likely lack room for error in 2021, and 3 runs may simply be too many to win games this year.

2. Roberto Perez & 3 True Outcomes

Bebo rarely hit well in the minors and in his Major League career, but in 2019 he boosted his production to career highs largely by hitting a surprising amount of homeruns, and walking a lot (which he's always done). Well, on Opening Day he walked twice and smacked a homer in the 9th inning. I do not anticipate much offensively from Bebo (it should be said: the projections do not either Steamer rates him the best, and only at a 72 wRC+). But Bebo was nearly an average hitter in 2019 by boasting a 5.4% HR%, and if he can get close to that the offense would benefit tremendously.

3. Bryan Shaw didn't Screw it Up...I mean the Bullpen was Solid

I am not sure how happy most people are on Bryan Shaw returning to Cleveland (I was indifferent), but he made his season debut and looked...fine? I only heard part of this inning, so my perspective should be taken with a grain of salt, but no hits, a strikeout and a walk seems fine for a middle reliever. James Karinchak did the same thing. Obviously early returns, but if the offense hits at this level we will need a lockdown bullpen as well as strong starting pitching.

The Bad

1. The Outfield Still Stinks

Outfielders batted 2-12 (2-15 if we add Franmil Reyes), with no extra base hits. Not good at all, and not going to cut it if the team wants to compete. It's just one game, but something we will keep an eye on as the season slowly progresses. On a side note: I forgot how young Ben Gamel is, I thought he was 30.

2. Jake Bauers Remains a Toad

Bauers made his debut, and promptly grounded out. At least he did not strike out I suppose. Yu Chang was not any better.

The Unexpected

1. I could not believe the game was played at all. The weather stunk, and I anticipated the game would be canceled (if not immediately, then in game like the 2007 Cleveland Home Opener), and given the results I am mildly disappointed they did not move the game.

2. I was a little surprised Amed Rosario came off the bench in the 9th, but was pleased he came off and roped a hit.


What's Next

Cleveland plays the Tigers in Detroit again tomorrow, with Zach Plesac making his season debut against Julio Teheran who makes his Detroit debut.

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