The Cleveland Indians used a well-rounded attack on Monday night to continue an impressive run of dominance over the Los Angeles Angels with a six-hit 6-0 shutout in Anaheim.
The Indians (2-2) moved back to the .500 mark with a game that featured strong pitching, timely hitting, clutch base running, the long ball, and a little bit of the unexpected, ending the Angels’ (3-2) modest winning streak at three games. They extended their winning streak against the Angels to 12 straight, dating back to June 12, 2016.
A pitching matchup that was highlighted by ties to the opposing club, it was former Angels draft pick Mike Clevinger who shined brightest in his first start of the season against former Indians farmhand J.C. Ramirez. “Sunshine” was backed by six runs of offense from his Tribe teammates as the club coasted to an easy win at Angel Stadium.
In a game that featured a pair of the top arms in the American League in Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco and Mariners left-hander James Paxton, it was offense that would prove to be the story of the day. Neither pitcher would last six innings and both would be tagged for all of the runs scored on the afternoon.
A streak of wildness from Seattle closer Edwin Diaz gave Cleveland a chance in the ninth inning, but the rally fell short for the Indians as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Mariners in game one of the 2018 regular season.
Baseball is officially under way and fans at Safeco Field and around the country were treated to a well-pitched game between former Cy Young winners Corey Kluber and Felix Hernandez that was one of the lowest scoring games of the day. One first inning swing by the Mariners would turn out to be the difference, but the Indians fought to the final out in an attempt to claim an Opening Day win.
Live from Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington, the Mariners will host the Cleveland Indians in the nightcap of Opening Day activity around the country as the 2018 Major League Baseball regular season schedule kicks off.
For the Indians (102-60 in 2017), they enter the year as the favorites in a depleted and rebuilding American League Central Division, but the underdogs in the race to the AL pennant. Their effort a season ago was one of the best in 117 years of junior circuit action for the Cleveland ball club, but despite the successful season, their postseason dreams were quickly squandered in a five-game American League Division Series loss to the New York Yankees. They will come in with a handful of new faces (and one old face) as another face, that of Chief Wahoo, begins his final year adorned on the team’s jerseys. It will also be the beginning of a new era for the Tribe as they play their first games without mainstays Carlos Santana and Bryan Shaw on the roster, but the team is hoping that several players and other new additions can step up to fill their respective voids.
Last year, veteran first baseman Yonder Alonso changed his swing and had a career year. At the age of 30, he shattered his career high home run total and had his best RBI season of his eight-year and four-team career. The Indians are hoping their biggest free agent signing of the winter has more from where last season came from.
Alonso’s 28 homers were 21 better than his previous career high, set in 2012. That was his first full Major League season, when he finished sixth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting while playing for the San Diego Padres (in his third season in the Majors after a pair of years with the Cincinnati Reds). His 67 RBI were not quite as impressive last season but still five better than his previous water-shed mark, also set as a rookie. Of course, he did play his first 100 games of 2017 with the Oakland Athletics, where there simply was not a lot of offensive players getting on base for him to drive in.
That will be different in Cleveland.
The first weekend of Cactus League play is in the books and the Cleveland Indians had, as expected, some good and some bad to show for it. After opening the spring training calendar with a home loss to the Cincinnati Reds, 6-4, on Friday from their shared complex at Goodyear Ballpark in Arizona, the Tribe notched its first win of the exhibition season with an 11-2 win on Saturday from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They returned home to Goodyear, this time playing as the visitors on Sunday, playing to a 2-2 tie against a split-squad Reds team.
Now, a look at how some of the temporary residents of Arizona fared in their first weekend back out in the sun…
For those worried that the Indians were going to stand pat after the loss of first baseman Carlos Santana and the likely departure of Jay Bruce from the Cleveland lineup, the Tribe brass addressed those concerns late Wednesday with the signing of free agent first baseman Yonder Alonso.
The deal, which had not yet been confirmed by the club, is for two years and a total of $16 million, split evenly at $8 million a season. Additionally, the deal has a vesting option for 2020 worth another $8 million, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The deal was first reported by USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale.