Player of the Game
Nick Swisher earned his paycheck today as he lead the Indians offensive attack with two extra base hits and three RBI. His first hit of the game was a two run home run that gave the Indians the lead and the second expanded it with an RBI double. Swisher scored after the double as well for a final POG score of 6.93. Yan Gomes, Nyjer Morgan, Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall all had scores above two as well.
Irrelevant of actual game play, the biggest thing for the Indians to happen today was the six year, $52M extension given to Jason Kipnis. Kipnis has been the top hitter and defender during the past two seasons and is now being compensated for it. He could be around until as late as 2020 on the current deal with use of the team option.
After two poor starting efforts, Danny Salazar provided the Indians relievers a bit of relief. Although he wasn’t as good as he can be or the Indians want him to be, Salazar still pitched into the sixth and struck out four while allowing just two runs. His toughest test came in the fifth when he loaded the bases with one out, but was able to get two hard shots to Kipnis to end the inning without score. He is the first pitcher since Justin Masterson on Opening Day to throw five innings.
The Indians tripled their home run total from the first series in the sixth inning tonight when Yan Gomes and Nick Swisher each went deep off Mike Pelfrey, who had taken a perfect game into the fifth. Gomes was a solo shot to start the inning, followed shortly after by Swisher’s two run shot that scored Lonnie Chisenhall and gave the Indians a one run lead.
The Indians defense didn’t stop there as they put another four on the board in the seventh to put the game away. Swisher was involved again with an RBI double, but the big hit came from Michael Brantley, who knocked a two out, bases loaded single to cap the rally. This was, by far, the best day offensively for the Tribe so far this year as they scored almost as much in two innings as they during the entire series with Oakland.
The Indians bullpen threw 3.1 shut out innings and was impressive overall, allowing the Indians hitters to overcome an early 0-2 deficit, but Blake Wood deserves special mention. Although it was in a five run game, Wood looked absolutely unhittable, recording three straight swinging strike outs to end the ninth. The Indians didn’t really know what they had in him, other than that he threw hard, but if he has a few more outings like this, he could become a prominent member of the back-end of the bullpen.
Indians fans are used to poor weather, but nobody wanted to wait an extra two hours for the home opener to start. When play finally started after the torrential downpour at about 5:15 the field looked like a swamp, with large puddles on the warning track. Luckily the great drainage at Progressive Field made this a non-factor in short order. Of course, nothing could change the fact that it was still very cold and windy.
Danny Salazar was fly ball happy during the first inning as the first four Twins’ hitters hit fly balls including a double, sacrifice fly and home run. It was just the second home run on the season given up by Indians pitching in 2014, better than all but five other AL teams. Salazar didn’t record a ground out until the third inning.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 7 – Minnesota Twins 2
Circling the Central: The Tigers rolled on the Orioles 10-4 to maintain their perfect record while the Royals had a much easier time now that they aren’t playing Detroit. They beat the White Sox 7-5.
Up Next: The Tribe will take on the Twins again at Progressive Field, hopefully with less rain, at 1:05 PM.