The Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins have split the first 2 games of their series, with the Twins rocking Carlos Carrasco for 5 runs yesterday. Today, first pitch at 1:05PM in Cleveland, the Tribe send Justin Masterson to the hill to face Ricky Nolasco. Both pitchers are looking for their first wins on the season but had polar opposite starts the first time around. Nolasco gave up 5 runs, including 2 home runs, in 6 innings taking the loss while Masterson pitched a scoreless 7 innings but got a no decision in the Indians’ opening game.
For the Indians pressure rests on Masterson to carry the team who has had some struggles scoring early in the season. Masterson has watched the team extend Jason Kipnis, Yan Gomes and Michael Brantley since the end of the season, while waiting for a contract offer suitable to the ace of the staff. That contract does not seem to be coming, instead Masterson will spend the season proving to the other teams in the league that he is ace material. For the Tribe losing Masterson would be the third ace lost in the last decade, C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee being the others.
For now the team, and their fans need to appreciate every start for the horse of the staff. A staff that has had its own struggles in the young season. At this point its clear that Masterson pitched games are almost must wins, thankfully he gives the team a great chance at doing just that. The offense on the other hand has had its ups and downs. Yesterday the Tribe scored 1 run, before getting 2 meaningless runs in the 9th inning. Yet on Friday, in the home opener, they exploded for 7 runs in the 6th and 7th inning.
Gomes and Nick Swisher led that onslaught with homeruns in the 6th inning but need to find consistency at the plate. Swisher only has 4 hits on the young season, with 2 coming on Friday. Nyjer Morgan and Brantley are the only 2 regular players batting over .300 on the season, with Lonnie Chisenhall, who has only played in 3 games, leading the team with a .500 batting average.
The Tribe will attempt to get off to a hot start on a cool spring day. The temperatures in Cleveland will be around 47 at game time and stay steady on a partly cloudy day. A few hard hits and a couple runs early will throw Nolasco off his game and start to get him to press. All in the Indians advantage. A win today and the Tribe will have taken 2 of 3 in each of their first 2 series. A great start to a season for anyone.
What are you looking forward to today? Any concerns that have popped up in the early season? Will you be supporting the team in their opening series?
Tags: Cleveland Indians