CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cleveland versus Chicago. Tenth inning. Packed house. Bryan Shaw on the mound for the Tribe.
Ah, what a familiar sight. Well, except for the fact that the Indians were playing the White Sox, not the Cubs. And it’s April, not early November.
On this occasion, the Indians prevailed, in fitting fashion, as Michael Brantley — the injury-plagued left fielder who missed all but 11 games last year — delivered the decisive RBI double. And, wisely, his teammates withheld the typical painful pounding that follows such a walk-off hit.
Here are a collection of thoughts and observations from the Indians’ home opener.
1. Power hour: Francisco Lindor sits atop the major-league leaderboard with four home runs in seven games, but he insists he is not a power hitter.
“No chance,” he said. “I’m not going to win the home run title. I guarantee you that.”
Lindor socked his fourth home run in Game 46 last year.
2. Three’s company: The Indians halted their losing streak, which sat at three after the miserable weekend in the desert. They have not endured a losing streak of four or more games since July 2015. Since then, the other 29 major-league teams have combined for 236 losing streaks of four or more games.
3. Rock solid: The last time Carlos Carrasco took the mound at Progressive Field, a line drive cracked his wrist and ended his season. On Tuesday, he submitted his second straight strong start, as he limited Chicago to one run on four hits over seven innings.
“You can tell he’s starting to get confident now,” said Tribe manager Terry Francona.
Carrasco has tallied 14 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings, to go along with a 2.13 ERA.
4. Loaded and locked: The Indians posted a .228/.272/.277 slash line with the bases loaded last season. They went the entire year without a grand slam.
On Tuesday, Edwin Encarnacion grounded into a pair of double plays with the bags packed. It’s far too early to claim that Encarnacion wasn’t worth the $60 million commitment the Indians granted him over the winter. But Francona admitted the slugger might be pressing a bit.
“It was a tough day,” Francona said. “And he’s had them before. As frustrated as you get or as cold as you get, good hitters get that hot. There will be days, hopefully soon, when I’m sitting here saying he carried us or he did this and this. He’s too good. Just right now, he’s a little stuck in-between.”
5. Last, but not least: Abraham Almonte continues to offer value from the No. 9 spot in the order. He contributed a double and a walk in Tuesday’s triumph. He’ll live to see at least one more day on the big-league roster, as Lonnie Chisenhall will play for Double-A Akron on Wednesday.
6. The flow: Jose Ramirez colored his hair several shades of orange before Tuesday’s home opener. He has a thin, bright orange ring at the base of his hairline and a dark orange/red color fills in the rest of the ‘do. It looks … interesting.
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The hair is back. (And a little darker.)
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians)
Random jersey sightings at Progressive Field: Kelly Shoppach, Bill Selby, Mark DeRosa.
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