It was a good start to Friday's home opener as the Cleveland Guardians were up 3-0, poised to take their fourth straight game over the Seattle Mariners. Then came the 5th innning and everything changed.
Aaron Civale allowed a leadoff single followed by a RBI double to Cooper Hummel and J.P. Crawford respectively. The Guardians right hander was able to momentarily walk the tightrope by striking out Julio Rodriguez before giving up a RBI single to Ty France to cut Cleveland's lead to one. Civale was able to escape the inning with the lead intact, but it would not last.
A quick bottom of the 5th did not provide any help for Civale as he returned to the mount in the 6th with just a one run buffer. The bad news for Civale was that Seattle picked right back up from the previoius ending. Jared Kelenic would double to center and then advance on a wild pitch in the next at-bat. With two outs it was Crawford again coming thoerugh with a RBI double, tying the game at three. Nick Sandlin would come in to relieve Civale, immediately giving up a two-run blast to Rodriguez, relinequishing the lead once and for all.
The Guardians pitching collectively was not necessarily inspiring and deserves thier fair share of the blame for the loss. But do not overlook the lack of offensive contributions as the game progressed. Cleveland managed just one hit, a 6th inning double from Andres Gimenez, after their early 3-0 lead. During innings 7-9 they did not manage to get a single man on base as they went nine men up and nine men down to end the game.
No need to stress about the Guardians home opening loss
Would a win in the home opener and a 6-2 record be great? Sure, but it is worth mentioning that Cleveland is just 15-15 in home openers since Progressive Field opened in 1994. The last time that Cleveland won a home opener was in 2020, a 2-0 victory over Kansas City. The win over the Royals was the last of a streak dating back to 2017.
One final thing to keep in mind, Cleveland did lose the season opener in Seattle before rattling off three straight against the Mariners on the road. Perhaps history repeats itself with the Guardians taking the final two at home this time around.