The Cleveland Indians take the opening series of the 2020 season as they took two out of three against the Kansas City Royals.
The starting pitching was as great as they’ve been over the last several seasons as Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger, and Carlos Carrasco dominated the Royals lineup throughout the weekend.
Bieber struck out 14 batters on Friday night, which was an Opening Day record not only in Indians franchise history but the most in major league history without allowing a run. The all-time record for Opening Day is 15 by Camilo Pascual back in 1960.
Clevinger came back on Saturday and was just as strong allowing only two runs over seven innings pitched while striking out six batters. The two earned runs came in the first after a controversial check swing that was ruled a ball gave the Royals new life which Jorge Soler and Salvador Perez took advantage with solo home runs by both.
Then on Sunday, Carlos Carrasco made his first start since his leukemia diagnosis and it was quite the dominant start. Carrasco struck out ten batters for the 25th time as a member of the Cleveland Indians, tying him fifth all-time with Trevor Bauer for most games with ten plus strikeouts. Carrasco gave up one walk and two earned runs in six innings of work.
The bullpen did its job throughout the weekend although the result on Saturday didn’t show the work. Cleveland’s relievers gave up just two hits, 1 unearned run, two walks and struck out nine batters throughout the series.
The offense started out slow on Friday and Saturday but on Sunday, the bats woke up as they tacked on nine runs in the 9-2 victory to take the series.
Jose Ramirez received not just one but two home run pitches and he drove in four runs in a three-hit performance.
Cleveland had 13 hits including multi-hit games from Cesar Hernandez, Ramirez, and Domingo Santana.
Francisco Lindor had a struggling series going 2 of 14 but did have an RBI in Sunday’s victory. It seemed like he was being too aggressive and while everyone was probably ready to get back on the field and it is a 60-game season compared to the usual 162 game season, Lindor needs to show some more patience at the plate but it is early and he’ll come through and it’ll be needed if Cleveland contends which everyone is expecting.
The Indians do not get an off day and will be right back as they start a three-game series with the young, up and coming Chicago White Sox that starts Monday followed by a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins.