Did the Tribe Win Last Night? No they did not. On opening night, the crowd was entertained with a pitcher’s duel between two of the best pitchers from 2014: Corey Kluber, the reigning Cy Young winner, and Houston Astros ace Dallas Keuchel. Kluber was almost perfect through seven innings, but a few misplaced pitches were just enough for the Astros to scrape a couple runs across the plate.
The first hit of the game for Houston was hit by club leader in hits, Jose Altuve, as he continues to build up what is already an amazing career that he has made for himself. George Springer followed up with a single for himself to drive in the first run of the game. Keuchel and the bullpen handled the rest of the game to get their first win of the season.
The Indians were 0-4 with runners in scoring position tonight. Obviously this is just the first game of the season, so it’s nothing to worry about right now. As the season goes further along though, they’ll need to make sure they’re coming through in the clutch.
WP: Keuchel (1-0) LP: Kluber (0-1)
Key Inning: Bottom of the sixth inning. With two down, Kluber was throwing a no hitter, but Altuve broke that up with the first hit of the game for the Astros. Right fielder Springer was up at the plate when Altuve stole his first base of the season. Springer then followed up with a single of his own to score Altuve for the winning run of the game. During the play, Springer tried to stretch the single into a double, but was tagged out in a run down between Carlos Santana and Jose Ramirez to end the inning.
Player of the Game: Keuchel picked up right where he left off in 2014. After a season where he posted an ERA of 2.93 with a record 12-9, he continued to dominate batters. He went seven innings and only gave up two hits while striking out four and walking three.
Keuchel won his first gold glove award last season, and he showed it off tonight. Two of the groundouts by Ryan Raburn were hit on the third baseline, and would have been a hit, but Keuchel was able to field both plays very cleanly. Keuchel is so dominant because of two reasons: his amazing defense and how he’s able to generate ground balls when he needs them.
Standings: The Indians are currently tied for second in the central with the White Sox and the Twins after they lost their games today to the Royals and Tigers respectively. It’s only the first game so these standings are going to be swapping back and forth over the first couple weeks of the season.
Etc.: The only real hard hit ball tonight was by Michael Brantley in sixth, but it just happened to be caught by Colby Rasmus. Keuchel was able to really keep the Indians off-balance all night long. The Indians had threatened in the seventh after back-to-back hits by both Santana and Yan Gomes, but Keuchel was able to buckle down and get out of the inning. Astros new closer Luke Gregerson came out to close the door to get his first save of the season.
Analysis: Last season, Keuchel led the league in groundball out percentage, and it showed tonight as he was able to induce a double play, and fourteen groundball outs. The Indians struck out seven times tonight, and two of those were from brand new Indian Brandon Moss.
Kluber on the other hand had seven strike outs just to himself. The Astros are well known for piling up plenty of strikeouts as they led the AL in strikeouts last season. Kluber ended up with the second highest strikeouts in the MLB with 269, so he should continue to rack them up as the season goes along. He looked as if he was in mid-season form tonight.
Up Next: The Indians have an off day on Tuesday, but they will be back to face the Astros on Wednesday. They’ll have a chance to tie up the series before the finale on Thursday. The Indians will be throwing the flame-throwing Carlos Carrasco (0-0, 0.00), and the Astros have right hander Scott Feldman (0-0, 0.00). The contest at Minute Maid park will start at 8:10 PM.
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Boring game. Players seemed to miss the sunshine and more relaxed atmosphere of Arizona.
Brandon moss? 2 of his 130 strikeouts before he is either released or placed on 60 day disabled list.
83 wins, third in Central. But Mr. Shapiro has announced that the renovations at Jacobs Field make it unique to baseball.
How bout some unique players?