Bragging rights? Tradition? Poppycock. In the end, it doesn’t really matter who the Cleveland Indians Opening Day starter is. Don’t get too absorbed in it.
As of Saturday, the Cleveland Indians haven’t announced an Opening Day starter. The choice has been narrowed down to either Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer, but we already knew that. Carlos Carrasco, Mike Clevinger, and Shane Beiber never really felt like options.
So what does that mean? It means that the team has a lot of confidence in Bauer now. More than they’ve ever had before. It’s also an honor that fans should take with a grain of salt. Opening Day starter is something that some people love to talk about. But in the long run of the season, it doesn’t mean much.
Corey Kluber is the ace of this ballclub but that doesn’t guarantee he’ll be starting for the Tribe on March 28th in Minnesota. That’s okay. This rotation is so loaded that they could stick any of the aforementioned five pitchers on the mound and I would be confident. We don’t even know if the game will be played for goodness sake.
We all know how competitive Trevor Bauer is. He’s vocal about his stats, along with the fact he didn’t finish in the top three in Cy Young Award voting. I’m sure he wants to be on the mound on Opening Day and he has proven he’s capable of being the day one starter.
The Indians have mixed up starting roles before. In the 2017 ALDS, Trevor Bauer was the Game 1 starter, and he completely shut down the Yankees. We don’t know what happened in the rest of that series as it never happened.
Ultimately, it comes down to something fans will remember for a day or two. Overreactions on Opening Day is one of the surest traditions in baseball. No matter who starts on March 28th, fans can expect neither pitcher will start at the Home-Opener on April 1st. If last years rotation is any indication, Mike Clevinger will likely get the nod that day.
Don’t read too much into the final decision in this. I’m putting my money on Corey Kluber being the Opening Day starter, but if he isn’t… who cares? Opening Day isn’t what matters. It’s a long season, and pitching in September and October is what I’m more concerned with.