For some reason I was very nervous for this game. Maybe really it was excitement, and watching some of my friends post online about their team's normal-time games, and then the threat of a rain delay just kept me wound up.
I was also pretty nervous to see how the team would do playing real baseball in a real situation that counted. Not like they weren't playing real games all summer. But it's always curious to see how they will do coming back to play 9.
I had a premonition that it'd be a pitcher's duel. It kind of looked like we'd easily roll over this Sonny kid and get a bunch of runs on the A's as Masterson struck them out. But that didn't happen!
The 24-year-old Oakland pitcher Sonny Gray turned out to be pretty good. Even though we got 5 hits off him and plenty of RISP, nobody crossed the plate and he ended up striking out 7 over just 6 innings - more than Masterson!
Masterson did his thing, though, and while he didn't strike out double digits he did get 4 over his 7 innings. And he did pitch 7 scoreless innings, which was rad. He kept his speed pretty consistent the whole time too, not losing any velocity even though it was his first time out and it was cold.
Mark Rzepczynski threw one out of relief, then Cody Allen came in for the rest of the 8th. He almost totally blew it but was saved by a ball that got caught by the wall instead of catching air. Tense!
Our new closer is John Axford, who is a Canadian citizen. So is his wife. But not his kids. Huh! I guess that explains why Rush's "Working Man" made it so high in fan voting for his entrance music. He's got all of Canada in his pocket.
Anyway, I guess his "thing" is that he throws a ton of pitches for a closer. While our previous closer would get an inning closed out in 11 pitches, Axford took 26 pitches to strike out 2, walk 2 and get a fly out. Being so aware of how easily a save can be blown, I don't know how much of this drawn-out closing I can take this year. I guess I'm going to have to get used to it!
Man, talk about being wound up, though - Jason Kipnis! Poor fella went 1 for 5 with 3 strikeouts! You know it's because he wants it too bad. That's what it is, man. He wants it too bad.
Kipnis was third, and ahead of him was Nyjer Morgan (the fill-in until Bourn is back) and Nick Swisher.
Morgan got on via the walk as the first play of the new season. He didn't steal, even though I was told he would. He didn't get any hits but in the 9th he connected for a big fly with the bases loaded to score the first run of the game.
Swisher followed Morgan with a walk in the first, and also followed him with an RBI in the 9th. Good.
After Kipnis is Santana, who didn't get the big hit for the guy we've kept around to get the big hits. In fact he didn't get any hits. But he did get a walk, as Santana is wont to do, so at least he still does that. Getting on base...
Michael Brantley remains to be the amazingest. He's still hitting .500 (that's what he hit this spring) and his 2 hits were doubles. Don't you just want to shout it from the rooftops?! MICHAEL BRANTLEY IS COMING FOR YOU, TED WILLIAMS! Ok maybe not Ted Williams, maybe just the number 300. This is the year.
Hey, Ryan Raburn! Tonight's DH. He did strike out twice but so did a lot of other Indians. He went 1 for 4.
Asdrubal was bumped down to 7th. Ouch? But no batting order is set in stone. Besides, Yan Gomes is 9th so your worth as a man clearly isn't designated by your spot in the order! He did end up going 1 for 3 with a walk and a hit and a run scored. Oh man I just had an awful thought of how he'll get fewer at-bats down at the bottom and fewer chances to lower his average. Oh no oh no...have I turned on Asdrubal?? I think maybe he needs to work a little to get in to my best graces this year. He's got my good graces, of course.
David Murphy. Still not buying what he's selling but perhaps he will Raburn his way into our hearts. Tonight he went 1 for 4 with 2 strikeouts.
Gomes himself went 1 for 3 with 2 strikeouts. Hmm. Well, we can't all be Yan Gomes all the time! (??)
I'm just happy for baseball to be back, midnight games or no. Strikeouts or no. Pitchers duels or no. Hooray for America's game! Hooray for baseball!
The Indians' first opening day shutout since 2002!
Tomorrow we face Scott Kazmir. So we should have that locked up, right? He should be scouted to the hilt. Jason Kipnis should calm down and get some hits. It'll be another late one tomorrow night - and there is more rain in the forecast - so be sure to get your nap in after work, ok?
See you there!
No Radio Chatter tonight because I was too wound up to take notes.