The day many thought would never come has arrived, as the Cleveland Indians will host the Kansas City Royals later on today in the first of 60 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 Major League Baseball regular season. Thank you for following along in our countdown to Opening Day! – BT
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 0
Last spring, it was written that it was a longer offseason than expected for the Cleveland Indians after they were swept by the Houston Astericks, excuse me, the Astros, in three straight games in the American League Division Series to close out the 2018 season.
This offseason, by comparison, looked like it might not ever end. Spring Training came to a crashing halt just two weeks short of its outset as the coronavirus took over the lives of Americans from one coast to another. As deaths piled up, people complained about having to comply with minimally intrusive actions like wearing a mask in public and far more complex actions like staying home and being relieved from non-essential employment, and tensions mounted, sports seemed like a far away pipe dream.
Now, more than four months after the sporting world shut down in mid-March, the game of baseball is back to try to provide the globe with a little bit of normalcy in generally abnormal times.
The march to Opening Day has finally reached its destination. Major League Baseball will begin the 2019 regular season schedule around the country with games all day long on Thursday. The Cleveland Indians will start the year away from home again, opening in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they will be hosted by the Twins in a 4:10 PM ET first pitch.
Countdown to Opening Day – 0 days
It was another longer than expected offseason for the Indians, who for the second straight season suffered a first round ouster in the American League Division Series as they were swept by the Houston Astros in three straight games to spell the end of the 2018 Major League Baseball season for the city of Cleveland.
Baseball fans are now just single digits away from the start of the 2019 Major League Baseball regular season. Join Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we continue our long countdown to Opening Day – BT
Countdown to Opening Day – 9 days
The current wearer of the number nine for the Cleveland Indians, outfielder Brandon Barnes, received disappointing news on Monday when he was informed that he will not be on the 25-man roster for the club to open the season.
Back with the organization for a second season, Barnes was hoping to latch on to a spot in the wide open mix in one of the two vacancies in the corner outfield positions with the team. Returning on a minor league contract with a spring invite for the second straight year, Barnes got a cup of coffee with the Tribe last September when rosters expanded after spending the majority of the campaign with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers.
The contracts include invitations to spring training at Goodyear, Arizona, with the club in February.
Corey Kluber pitched seven innings of shutout, four-hit baseball, and the offense used four late runs to back their starter to his 20th win of the season and the team’s 17th shutout of the campaign in a 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
The reigning Cy Young winner pitched nearly stress-free baseball from the southside of Chicago in the series opener with the White Sox, despite slow moving run support. Kluber worked seven shutout frames, striking out eleven batters and walking just one to go with the four hits that he surrendered to win 20 games for the first time in his career while becoming the first Indians pitcher to do so since Cliff Lee won 22 in 2008. The offense awoke with a pair of homers late and used three runs in the ninth inning to pad what was at the time a one-run advantage. In a flashback to better bullpen days, both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen worked perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts to wrap up the evening with 17 straight White Sox batters retired by the Tribe pitching staff.
Former Indians farmhand Thomas Pannone held Cleveland to just two runs over six and one-third innings and the Toronto Blue Jays used three early runs and three more late to claim a 6-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
Pannone, making just his third Major League start and ninth overall appearance since being acquired by the Blue Jays last July for reliever Joe Smith, filled in for the injured Marcus Stroman with a quality outing for Toronto while keeping the Tribe bats quiet. The Jays touched up starter Mike Clevinger for three runs in his own quality start, and three more in the eighth off of right-hander Jon Edwards provided enough cushion late when the Indians threatened briefly in their final at bats.
A second straight strong season on the farm has earned Columbus outfielder Brandon Barnes recognition from the International League.
The 14-year pro was named this week to the International League’s Post-Season All-Star team as the lone representative from the Clippers.
The Triple-A All-Star Game is coming to Columbus next month and the hometown crowd will have some familiar faces to cheer on during the contest on Wednesday, July 11, from the Ohio capital.
The International League announced on Wednesday its roster for the annual exhibition, held this season at Huntington Park in Columbus. Catcher Francisco Mejia and outfielder Brandon Barnes will represent the Clippers, playing for Columbus manager Chris Tremie and his coaching staff against the best from the Pacific Coast League.
The Cleveland Indians added another minor league depth piece to the roster on Monday when the club agreed to a minor league contract with free agent outfielder Brandon Barnes, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo.
The deal, pending a physical, had not yet been formally announced by the Tribe front office.