Tribe Home Opener – Take Two
Bob Toth | On 05, Apr 2016
Monday hardly went as planned for fans of the feather as Mother Nature intervened on Cleveland’s unofficial Home Opener holiday. The Indians and the Boston Red Sox will give it a second try on Tuesday in a rescheduled 1:10 PM ET first pitch.
Gates open for the day’s new festivities at 11:00 AM ET.
Corey Kluber (9-16 in 2015, 3.49 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) is again set to take the mound in the season opener for the Indians. The Tribe’s ace and former Cy Young Award winner is looking to start his 2016 in a much better fashion than he began last season, when he was marred in a losing skid to begin his campaign. The Indians lost each of his first seven appearances while he was dealt the loss in five before winning his first game in a memorable 18-strikeout, one-hit, eight-inning performance against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 13. His next start, tentatively Sunday, April 10, in Chicago against the White Sox, will come on his 30th birthday.
Big money and big ticket free agent acquisition David Price (18-5, 2.45 ERA, 1.08 WHIP in 2015) will counter for Boston. The 30-year-old lefty was dominant for the Toronto Blue Jays after being dealt by the Detroit Tigers prior to the July 31 trade deadline last season. The Sox are the third AL East club in the Major League career of the 2012 Cy Young Award winner.
The Indians carry a three-game winning streak from 2015 into 2016. It was a sweep of the Sox at Progressive Field that gave the Indians an 81-80 winning record in an otherwise disappointing season. They finished their spring training schedule with an 18-12 record, which included a 7-0-1 record in the final week of action.
While baseball was postponed by the wet, cold, and windy weather that took residence over the northeast Ohio region on Monday, baseball-related activities were still taking place behind the scenes.
In non-personnel related news, the organization stepped to the plate to respond to the public backlash that circulated the city and the internet by storm following the cancellation of Monday’s game. They have announced that fans who use their ticket from Monday’s Opener for Tuesday’s game will receive a ticket for ANY April or May game of their choice. For fans unable to attend Tuesday’s new Home Opener, the club will grant two tickets to any April or May game. This benefit will not apply to those who purchased their tickets through a third-party vendor, such as StubHub. More can be found here.
“We know how special Opening Day is for our fans, and recognize how unfortunate the challenging weather scenario was for them,” said Indians owner Paul Dolan in a press release. “We value each and every one of our fans, and we want to make this unique and difficult situation right by extending this offer.”
In matters that affected the team itself, and as expected, relief pitcher Tommy Hunter was placed on the 15-day disabled list while still recovering from offseason surgeries. The move may be a positive one for the Tribe, who did not need to place him on the 60-day disabled list, which would have spelled a much longer absence but would have resolved temporarily a crowded mess on the 40-man roster.
Outfield prospect James Ramsey became a casualty of the roster crunch, as he was designated for assignment. The move cleared a space on the 25-man and 40-man rosters for new reliever Joba Chamberlain, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Columbus.
The DFA of Ramsey is a curious one by the Tribe’s front office as the team had just added him to the 40-man roster following the 2015 season. Ramsey, who turned 26 in the offseason, struggled in his first full season in the Indians organization last year when the cards had stacked in his favor at the beginning of play for a potential late season call-up with the club. Instead, he hit .243 with 21 doubles, 12 homers, and 42 RBI while striking out 128 times in 126 games. He committed just one error while playing all three outfield spots regularly last season as a member of the Columbus Clippers.
If he goes unclaimed through the pending waiver process or is not traded or released in the coming ten day window, he would be expected to return to the Clippers outfield.
He becomes the second player designated in as many days from the 2014 trade deadline. Utility player Zach Walters, acquired from the Washington Nationals for shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, entered the process on Sunday. Reliever Giovanni Soto, acquired years ago in the Jhonny Peralta trade from the Detroit Tigers, was also designated for assignment by the club on Sunday.
Chamberlain, like Ramsey a former first round pick, won a bullpen spot on the club out of spring. The 30-year-old right-hander had a steady spring on the Arizona mounds, pitching in eleven games with a 2.70 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and .194 batting average against in ten innings. He struck out eight, walked seven, and allowed seven hits against spring training competition.
The Indians and Red Sox are scheduled to play night games on Wednesday and Thursday, both 6:10 PM ET starts. Carlos Carrasco will be opposed by Boston’s Clay Buchholz in game two, while Danny Salazar and Joe Kelly will pair up in a battle of hard-throwing right-handers in the series finale before both clubs hit the road. The Indians will head west to Chicago, while the Red Sox will take on the defending AL East champs, the Toronto Blue Jays.
Photo: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer