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Camino: Five Thoughts from Indians Season Opener

Camino: Five Thoughts from Indians Season Opener

(TORONTO) – The Cleveland Indians opened up the 2013 season on Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre winning 4-1 over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Tribe and ‘Jays continue their series on Wednesday evening at 7:07 pm ET.

WTAM 1100 Indians reporter Nick Camino was on hand for Opening Day and will be there the rest of the series bringing Total Tribe Coverage back to Northeast Ohio on the radio and online at WTAM.com. Below are a few things that Nick took away from the 2013 season opener:

1. Masterson impressive…well, sort of: Any time your Opening Day starter can go out and give you six innings of work while only allowing three hits and one run, you will definitely take it. Masterson also struck out five while walking four batters on 104 pitches. The key for Masterson is he seemed to get stronger as the game wore on and he gave the club a chance to win. Was it the way he scripted it? Probably not. But the big right-hander worked out of jams continuously and despite his pitch count rising fast, he delivered an important 1-2-3 inning in the sixth to help line up the “Bullpen Mafia” perfectly.

2. Beating the knuckleballer: Bravo to the Tribe! R.A. Dickey was last season’s National League Cy Young Award Winner and the Indians battled him perfectly. Early on in the game the Indians worked counts, put up good at-bats and in the end made the knuckleballer pay. Dickey gave up four runs over six innings of work and it didn’t hurt Cleveland that catcher J.P. Arencibia could not seem to handle Dickey’s knuckleball at times. The Tribe got on the board early when Lonnie Chisenhall grounded out to drive in Michael Brantley, followed by a Drew Stubbs RBI-single that scored Mark Reynolds. The icing on the cake? Asdrubal Cabrera’s 2-run bomb in the fifth inning that pretty much sealed the deal.

The Indians opened up thei 2013 season with a 4-1 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre. Photo courtesy Nick Camino

3. Bullpen Mafia: This group has not seemed to miss a beat. Yes, it’s only one game, but the Indians trio of Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez looked as dominant as it was a year ago. Masterson got the ball to the “Made Members” of the mafia after the sixth inning and from that point on “fuggedaboutit!” Smith and Pestano went 1-2-3 in the seventh and eighth innings respectively. Then Perez slammed the door in the ninth unlike a year ago when he came in to a save situation with an identical score of 4-1. The closer admitted after the contest that Opening Day a year ago did cross his mind. Just how manager Terry Francona would script it if you ask him. Sure, if a starter can go more than six innings that will always be welcome, but the Tribe certainly looks like they can count on their main guys in the back-end of that bullpen.

4. Overblown opener: Win or lose, I have to agree with Indians manager Terry Francona. Yes, it was nice the Tribe started the season with a 4-1 victory that improved their record to 1-0 on the 2013 season, however it was just one game. Francona mentioned near the end of spring training that going up against Dickey would be tough, but he harped on the fact that it was just one game and it is a long season. I’m sure “Tito” is happy the Tribe was victorious, but let’s keep his philosophy intact. Opening Day is nice, but it’s one game. Heck, the Houston Astros won their opener Sunday night against the Texas Rangers. Houston may lose 110 games this season. Fast starts are nice and winning is always better than losing, I get it Tribe fans…but let’s not lose sight of what Tuesday’s victory meant. It was one win, now the Indians need to focus on winning this series.

5. Raucous Rogers Centre: The next time the Toronto Blue Jays host a sellout at the Rogers Centre will either be an MLB Playoff game or Opening Day in 2014, but nevertheless the crowd of 48,857 was amped up on Tuesday night. I’m not sure whether it was being enclosed in a dome or just being away from large crowds for a while, but the Canadians sure seemed loud! Blue Jays fans certainly have the right to be excited. The Toronto front office, similar to the Indians spent a ton of money this past offseason and brought in plenty of productive pieces via trade (Reyes, Johnson, Buehrle, Cabrera). I just never thought I would see Blue Jays fans “boo” the Indians so much. Is there a rivalry that I am unaware of? Maybe the Molson or Labatt was flowing freely?

- Nick Camino

 

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