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Indians Recap: Offense falls flat in Corey Kluber’s Opening Day gem

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Corey Kluber was on his game to start 2019, but the bats of the Cleveland Indians were not. The Tribe begins 2019 with a losing record following a shutout.

Corey Kluber got saddled with an Opening Day loss to start the 2019 season, but as is often the case, it’s not because of anything he did wrong. But rather the rest of the Cleveland Indians team…

Kluber tossed six shutout innings before the Twins were able to scrape something together in the seventh, plating two runs on a double by Marwin Gonzalez. As it turns out, that’s all that was needed in a 2-0 Indians loss.

The Tribe offense recorded two hits off Twins ace Jose Berrios, who admittedly looked every bit the part of an Opening Day pitcher as he cruised through 7.2 innings with 10 strikeouts and a walk. That doesn’t make Cleveland’s offensive showing any easier to stomach.

With Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis starting the season on the shelf, expectations were tempered coming into the team’s first stretch of meaningful baseball games. It’s not exactly surprising that a lineup featuring Eric Stamets and Brad Miller struggled to string hits together. That said, the two-through-six hitters yielded one solitary base runner all game (on a Carlos Santana walk) and struck out five times. It just wasn’t the Indians’ day.

Among the few positive takeaways from the shutout loss is that one of Cleveland’s two hits came off the bat of Leonys Martin. In what can only be considered a bit of baseball justice, Martin laced a double down the right-field line for the Indians’ first base runner of 2019. The center fielder’s comeback tour is officially underway.

The bullpen also put some minds at ease, albeit in a losing effort. After Kluber left the game, Oliver Perez, Adam Cimber, and Brad Hand combined to throw a clean eighth inning, giving the Indians one last chance to start a rally in the ninth. It may have only been one inning, but it’s encouraging nonetheless to see the pitching staff band together and keep the team within striking distance.

The Indians will have Friday off before getting back at it on Saturday. Trevor Bauer will be on the hill for the Tribe, with Jake Odorizzi taking the ball for Minnesota.

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As disappointing as it may be to start the season on a low note, especially after an entire offseason of low notes, Thursday’s loss was one game. Jose Ramirez isn’t going to go hitless very often and despite the consensus that the Indians are severely undermanned on offense, neither are many other members of the team. Look for Ramirez, Santana and Jake Bauers to ignite a fire on Saturday.