Player of the Game
Scott Atchison impressed in his Indians debut, coming in for Kluber in the fourth inning. The veteran came in with runners at first and third and got a ground out and a strike out to end the inning without damage. He pitched the following inning as well and retired the A’s in order while striking out his second batter. This is likely the type of role Atchison will be in for most of the season and his early success should make the front office happy with their decision. His final POG score was 2.46.
It’s hard to say this is a good thing, but Corey Kluber leaving early allowed the Indians to see all their relievers in action for the first time. As already mentioned, Atchison was great, but the rest of the pen was far from perfect. Vinnie Pestano allowed a run on two doubles in his inning, Blake Wood allowed a single and Josh Outman allowed two base runners in his inning. In all, the bullpen was successful, allowing just a single run in 5.2 innings pitched.
After Justin Masterson allowed just four base runners on Opening Day, Kluber allowed seven in the first two innings today. Kluber had issues with his command early and when he did make a good pitch, the A’s hitters were still able to put it in play. Kluber walked four just once in 2013 and three just four times, so seeing him struggle with command is a very strange thing.
The Indians had another challenging challenge today when Derek Norris was tagged out at home by Yan Gomes and A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged the play. Melvin was late making the challenge, it came after the next batter was already in the box, but the umpires allowed it anyway and after almost five minutes of waiting, the call was confirmed. Although the right call was made, this is exactly the type of situation MLB wanted to avoid when instituting the replay rule.
Things didn’t settle down for Kluber after the first two innings as Alberto Callapso smashed a two run home run to give the A’s a 5-0 lead in the third. Kluber was only able to get a few outs after that and was pulled with one out in the fourth after an error by Carlos Santana and a single by Brandon Moss put runners on the corners. In the end, Kluber threw 3.1 innings, allowed 5 runs (all earned), eight hits and three walks.
Although the two run ninth to win the game in the opener was fun, the ninth is the only inning the Indians have scored in this year. While it has only been two games and the Athletics have an excellent pitching staff, offense has always looked like a major issue for the Tribe coming into the season. Making matters worse is the fact that the team has no regular DH, forcing them to use utility men, like Ryan Raburn and Elliot Johnson on a daily basis. Eventually, this team will start to score more runs, but they will need all their stars to contribute to make it work.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 1 – Oakland Athletics 6
Circling the Central: The whole Central Division was off yesterday (only the Indians’ game was unintentional), but they made up for it today. The Tigers beat the Royals in extra innings, giving them two walk-off wins to start the year while the White Sox also walked off in 11 against the Twins, bringing their record to 2-0 as well.
Up Next: Stick around, the Indians will wrap up the series tonight against the A’s. Zach McAllister will take the mound against Josh Lindblom.