The first day of baseball is when hope springs eternal for any baseball fan. Any team starts at a clean slate with dreams of winning a championship in their heads. The 2017 Major League Baseball season has officially begun! The first game (Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals) was played Sunday, April 2nd. The rest of first games in both the American and National League start on Monday April 3rd. As I type this, the Cleveland Indians are playing their first game of the season against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, which they ended up winning 8-5. Next on the schedule, the Indians travel to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks.
Cleveland Indians Line-up
Hitting, Offense and Off-season Deals
The team roster has been set for opening day and the Indians are ready to go. Two key players are starting the season on the 10-day disabled list: Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall. But, the big news is that after nearly a year of surgery and recovery, Michael Brantley is back in the line-up and playing center field.
Edwin Encarnacion signed with the Indians after the post season. He was a free agent from the Toronto Blue-Jays. Encarnacion and Carlos Santana will switch off playing designed hitter and first base. Edwin Encarnacion’s powerful bat and defense at 1st base is welcome to the team. In fact, Encarnacion hit his first of what we hope are many homeruns in the opening game of the season.
Roberto Perez and Jose Ramirez both signed new extended contracts with the Indians that will keep them with the team for at least four years a piece. Both players have become vital parts of the team. Roberto as the secondary catcher and Jose Ramirez at third base. A new addition to the infield this year is rookie, Yandy Diaz. The 25-year-old player was picked to be on the opening-day roster. He will be starting at 3rd base for Ramirez who is covering 2nd while Kipnis is out.
Corey Kluber was designated as the opening day pitcher. He has been the team pitching ace for at least the past few years. His incredible, calm and on-target pitching during the playoffs and World Series lead the Indians to many victories. He was also a finalist for another Cy Young Award (He ended up coming up in 3rd in the voting for the 2016 season).
As for the bullpen, there are a few new faces this year on the bull pen staff: Shawn Armstrong and Boone Logan. The bullpen is full of great arms from the 2016 season including Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Zach McAllister and Dan Otero.
Will the Cleveland Indians repeat last season? Baseball writers across the board predict that the Indians will win the American League Central Division in 2017. Only time will tell, but as a long-time fan, I would love to see them make a return to the World Series again.
Opening Day in Cleveland
Did you get tickets to Opening Day at Progressive Field? The tickets to the first home game sold out in 5 minutes! For this year’s game, the team will be receiving their American League Championship rings, so it will be an extra special event. Opening Day is like a holiday in Cleveland. The restaurant and bars around Progressive Field will be packed with Indians fans getting ready for the game-if or if they don’t have tickets. It is a party attitude and everyone wants to join in on the fun: rain or shine.
There are still tickets for the single games throughout the season, but the weekend game tickets are selling out rather quickly. Get out and support the Cleveland Indians as they try to repeat the magical 2016 season, but this time with a World Series win! Go Tribe!