CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – On Monday, the Cleveland Indians were supposed to open the 2016 season at home at Progressive Field against the Boston Red Sox. The game has since been postponed until tomorrow.
The Indians are celebrating the franchise’s 116th season, and the club is 59-56 all-time on Opening Day.
25-Man Roster All Set
The Indians’ 25-man Opening Day roster is all set, after catcher Roberto Perez cleared the MLB concussion protocol.
“The doctors have looked at him and evaluated him and gave him a clean bill of health,” manager Terry Francona said before the game. “And now we have to respect the process. Send the paperwork in to Major League Baseball. Hopefully fairly soon, we’ll hear that he’s good to go. Than we can tell Joba he’s good to go and we can tell (catcher Adam) Moore not to go to the ballpark.”
At around 3:45 pm on Monday, Cleveland placed P Tommy Hunter on the 15-day DL and added P Joba Chamberlain to the roster, as Francona suggested. OF James Ramsey was designated for assignment as part of the roster move.
Cody Anderson, Francisco Lindor, and Tyler Naquin are all on an Opening Day Roster for the first time ever. Naquin is the lone player set to make his MLB debut.
“This year when we told him, ‘Hey, go compete,’ and you could see his eyes kind of lit up,” Francona said. “I’m sure he’ll be extra excited. Opening Day is pretty exciting, I don’t care how many years you’ve been in the league. But if it’s your first it’s obviously very special.”
During spring training, Naquin led the club with 23 hits, batting .397 (23-58) to earn the roster spot.
“I was really impressed by his plate discipline this spring,” OF Rajai Davis said in the clubhouse pre-game. “Actually, he progressively got better during spring training, in the outfield. I’m really impressed with what he’s capable of doing. He’s got the ability to play at this level and ability to potentially be an all-star.”
Kluber vs. Price
The pitching match-up on Monday was scheduled to be a duel of Cy Young winners, with the Tribe’s Corey Kluber facing Boston’s David Price.
“In weather like this you want to see if he’s got a feel for his breaking ball,” Francona said before the game was postponed. “But like always with David, just try to get out over the plate, straight, and whack it and don’t miss it. And that’s normally your best way of getting to him.”
Corey Kluber was scheduled to make his second career Opening Day start after going 9-16 last season with a 3.49 ERA.
Oh, The Weather Outside Is Weather…
Temperatures were supposed to plummet to 34 degrees for the game this afternoon, and that would have been second coldest opening day temperature in baseball since 1990. But, the players were ready to tough it out, if necessary.
“It’s not fun getting jammed when it’s this cold out,” 1B Mike Napoli said. “Both teams have to go through it. It’s nothing I’m going to shy away from. It is what it is. You gotta go out there and try to execute so, I’m just excited to get playing the real thing now. I’m excited to compete again and actually play for something.”
At around 2:20 pm when the game was postponed, temperatures stood around 31 degrees, with bad weather expected to be coming.
“It’s gonna be sunny and warm in my mind, and I’m going to play like that,” Rajai Davis joked. “That’s just the biggest thing for me, making sure I have the right gear on and mentally staying positive and mentally staying warm because you could easily let that temperature make you colder than you really are.”
The last time the Indians were postponed because of winter weather conditions was in 2007, a year that Cleveland went on to win the AL Central, and took the Red Sox to seven games in the ALCS.
To set the stage for tomorrow, the Indians have a record of 9-4 against the Red Sox since the start of 2014. Cleveland has won its last 3 overall versus Boston and 6 straight against them at Progressive Field. Kluber and Price are both expected to remain the starting pitchers. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 pm.