Francona Anxious for Indians to Start Season Tonight Against Mariners

The Indians at Progressive Field 2017 (mark urycki/ideastream)
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The Cleveland Indians begin their season tonight with a 10 O’clock game in Seattle.   The Tribe is expected to win their division and get back to the playoffs for the third year in a row.  

The Indians are a threat to go to the World Series because they have the top-ranked pitching staff in all of baseball.  Manager Terry Francona, who’s taken teams to three World Series,  has both excitement and nerves before the first game.

“It’s a little bit like almost like terror.  Like, have we done everything we’re supposed to?  And did I forget [something] over the winter?” 

Starting pitchers Danny Salazar and Ryan Merritt are on the disabled list as is left fielder Michael Brantley.   However, Cy Young winner Cory Kluber gets the start tonight.

 “It’s an unbelieve feeling,  I mean you can’t replicate it.  It’s unbelievable.”

Reliever Brian Shaw and first baseman Carlos Santana have moved on to other teams so Francona will look to new first basement Yonder Alonso, plus the return of Rajai Davis, and last year’s surprising rookie Bradley Zimmer. You can expect Francona to move players in and out the first week so everyone gets a chance to play.

“I think it’s helpful for guys to kinda get in and shake off, whether it’s nerves, or you know.   We don’t want to create rust because they’ve all played on a schedule in Spring Training.  So you don’t want anyone sitting too long.  And the way we’re configured, everybody’s going to play.” 

As much as he likes his job, Francona admits he’s been having trouble sleeping looking ahead to the opener. 

"It’s the same every year and I hope it never goes away.   Right now, my hands are getting sweaty.  It’s a good feeling.”    

The Indians home opener is next Friday afternoon, April 6,  against the Royals.  

The openeing day roster:

# PITCHERS (12) B/T
37 ALLEN, Cody R/R
47 BAUER, Trevor R/R
46 BELISLE, Matt R/R
59 CARRASCO, Carlos R/R
52 CLEVINGER, Mike R/R
44 GOODY, Nick R/R
28 KLUBER, Corey R/R
34 McALLISTER, Zach R/R
24 MILLER, Andrew L/L
49 OLSON, Tyler L/L
61 OTERO, Dan R/R
43 TOMLIN, Josh R/R

# CATCHERS (2) B/T
7 GOMES, Yan R/R
55 PẾREZ, Roberto R/R

# INFIELDERS (6) B/T
17 ALONSO, Yonder L/R
10 ENCARNACION, Edwin R/R
9 GONZÁLEZ, Erik R/R
22 KIPNIS, Jason L/R
12 LINDOR, Francisco S/R
11 RAMĺREZ, José S/R

# OUTFIELDERS (5) B/T
8 CHISENHALL, Lonnie L/R
26 DAVIS, Rajai R/R
6 GUYER, Brandon R/R
30 NAQUIN, Tyler L/R
4 ZIMMER, Bradley L/R

# DISABLED LIST(5) B/T
56 ANDERSON, Cody(60) R/R
23 BRANTLEY, Michael L/L
54 MERRITT, Ryan L/L
31 SALAZAR, Danny R/R
39 URSHELA, Gio R/R

 

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