Cleveland’s own “Boys of Summer”, the Cleveland Indians will be returning to their home at Progressive Field on Monday, April 4th.
Opening Day Events
Opening Day in Cleveland is like a city holiday. It is a day when hope springs eternal for a great baseball season. There is a feeling of hope and happiness for every Cleveland Indians fan. The home opener is Monday, April 4th at 4:10 pm against the Boston Red Sox. The drummer from the Black Keys and Akron native, Patrick Carney, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Tribe favorites Kenny Lofton, Travis Hafner and Bill Selby will be on hand for opening day festivities and events.
Hopes for 2016 Season
In 2015, the Indians were third place in American League Central Division with an 81-80 record. The Tribe always starts off slow, which can be a challenge to the team during the summer stretch. April is always a tough month. In 2015, they were 7-14 mostly against Central Division teams. While the team usually warms up after the All-Star break in July, that much of a deficit can be very difficult to come back from. If the Indians can have a good start and find their footing early, this could help keep them steady throughout the season with not having to constantly play catch-up in the Central division. Last year, the offensive production was at the bottom of the list for the American League. A big focus for 2016 is for the offense to score runs to help support the stellar starting pitching line-up. There are many sporting outlets that predict a steady 2016 season for the Indians with some even predicting they could be the American League Central Division champions over the 2015 World Series Champs, Kansas City Royals.
By looking at the early spring training games at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, you can get an idea of how much talent is on this Cleveland Indian’s team. The wish is for all of the players to stay healthy throughout the season. The team had a few key free agent signings in the off-season in Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis, and Juan Uribe. in veteran player, Mike Napoli. If Napoli stays healthy and is having a good season, then this could be a good indicator of the strength of the Indian’s offense. He has a very powerful bat and is a nice addition to the hitting of Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor. Napoli will play first base. Jason Kipnis had an amazing, 2015 season. If he can stay healthy, then he can build upon last year’s numbers and help lead the offense on the team. Lindor, in his rookie year with the tribe, blew away all expectations with 122 hits, 22 doubles, four triples and 12 home runs while driving in 51 runs and being named the American League Rookie of the month in September.
Tribe centerfielder, Michael Brantley is still recovering from shoulder surgery in the off-season and will not be on the opening day roster and could miss the first month of play. Rookie Tyler Naquin, who just made the team, is having a great spring training so far with three doubles, three triples and two homers He could be taking Brantley’s place on the opening day roster. After Brantley’s return, he could get the open fourth/back-up outfielder spot on the team.
The Cleveland Indian’s pitching staff is full of great pitchers from 2014 Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco as the top three pitchers in the rotation. They are picked as one the best starting pitching for 2016. The rest of the rotation, including Cody Anderson, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin is still being determined. The bull pen is being to take full shape with the signing of Joba Chamberlain to an already strong group. There will be a seven-man bullpen with closer, Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Zach McAllister, Jeff Manship and Chamberlain with a few more spots to be filled.
The Cleveland Indians haven’t had the best spring training with a 12-12 record as of March 27th. They are looking forward to finishing the last few games of spring training and then heading to Texas for the first game of the season on Friday, April 1st. The Tribe will take on the Rangers at 8:05 pm at Global Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Changes at Progressive Field
If you haven’t been to Progressive Field in a few years, you are in for a major surprise. For the past two years, Progressive Field has made dramatic changes to the ballpark both on the field and in the stands. Last year, they remodeled The Gate C entry and outfield area by creating The Corner. A bar in the park, where fans can watch the game without having seats in the ballpark. Last year, the park showed a bit commitment to local food vendors by opening booths for Melt and Great Lakes Brewing Company. This year, there will be even more local food vendor booths with the addition of Ohio City Burritos, Cleveland Pickle and Happy Dog.
In continuing with the 2015 ballpark changes, more seats have been removed for major renovations. For the first time, Progressive Field will have a behind home plate club. The club will include a full bar, concessions, and a glass front so fans can watch the game. The club is for Diamond and Field Box Front Season Ticket holders. Also, Progressive Field is getting a brand new scoreboard. The new scoreboard is 59 feet high and 221 feet wide with a state-of-the-art high definition screen.
Go Tribe!! Here’s to a great 2016 season!