Indians Begin Defense Of AL Pennant Today In Texas

Fans gathered outside Progressive Field to watch Game 7 last year. [Matt Richmond / ideastream]
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Since winning the American League pennant and coming a game away from a World Series title in 2016, the Indians may have gotten stronger. They’ve added Edwin Encarnacion as a designated hitter and gotten back veteran Michael Brantley from a long injury absence. Ace Corey Kluber will start tonight against the Rangers.Two major contributors from last year – Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis – begin the season injured but both are expected back this month.

Manager Terry Francona, in classic baseball manager fashion, threw some cold water on what many expect to be another good year.

“Well, April’s not necessarily glamorous. In Cleveland it might be 38 degrees and you got to grind through it. And the teams that do grind through it and handle it the best give themselves a chance later to play when it’s really fun," said Francona.

A poll of 35 baseball pundits at ESPN has the Indians as favorites to win the World Series this year, in a rematch with the Chicago Cubs. The Indians will play three in Texas, then three in Arizona before their home opener on April 11 against the Chicago White Sox.

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