Four observations from the Indians' 2-0 loss to the Twins

The Indians had just two hits on opening day

James Rapien
March 28, 2019 - 8:00 pm
Mar 28, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco (11) takes a lead from first base in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Target Field. The Minnesota Twins defeated the Cleveland Indians 2-0. Mandato

© David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

Categories: 

Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians were shutout by the Twins on opening day 2-0. There’s always more reaction to the first game of the season, regardless of the outcome.

Here are four observations from the Indians’ game one loss to Minnesota:

Oh No, it’s Marwin – Marwin Gonzalez was the difference on Thursday. He entered the game with a .455 lifetime batting average against Corey Kluber. The Indians’ ace was great through six innings, before Gonzalez hit a two-run double in the seventh.

The 30-year-old was great against the Indians in the postseason last year, finishing 7-of-13 with five RBI.

Gonzalez is a perfect fit on any playoff contender because of his versatility. He continues to punish the Indians, who should’ve pursued him this offseason. Gonzalez is the type of under-the-radar addition that delivers in big moments. He proved that in the playoffs last year and reminded us again on Thursday.

Indians’ Ace – There’s been plenty of chatter about a potential Corey Kluber trade. The Indians’ ace, who turns 33 on April 10, showed he’s as dominant as ever on Thursday. He allowed two runs on three hits and walked one in seven innings of work. Kluber was perfect through 4.2 innings and didn't allow a hit until the sixth.

Some say Trevor Bauer has passed Kluber as the best pitcher on the team. It’s hard to imagine that being the case after what we saw on opening day.

Kluber only threw 56 pitches through six innings. He shutdown a Twins’ lineup that was much improved from a season ago. He may not offer up the quotes we want or be as funny or snarky as other pitchers, but there’s a reason he’s the Vegas favorite to win the Cy Young award. He reminded everyone of his greatness on Thursday against the Twins.

Flashing the Glove – Jake Bauers was the crown jewel the Indians received in the Edwin Encarnacion trade. The 23-year-old was one of the top prospects in the Tampa Bay organization and showed potential in 2018, during an up-and-down first season in the majors.

Bauers is a natural first baseman, but the Indians have been grooming him to play left field. The youngster admits he just wants to be out there everyday, even if it means playing in the outfield, which he isn’t entirely comfortable with.

Bauers showed his potential against the Twins, making a few tough catches in left field look routine. In the third inning he tracked a ball down and made a sliding grab in foul territory. Those are the plays the Indians and fans needed to see.

Bauers is going to make errors this season. He’ll be fine as long as he learns from his mistakes and shows potential like he did on Thursday. Keeping Bauers in the outfield gives the Indians the flexibility to play Carlos Santana at first base and Hanley Ramirez at designated hitter. The trio finished 0-for-8 against the Twins.

It's One Game – It’s natural to overreact to opening day. The Indians finished with two hits and plenty of fans made the ‘that looks like a minor-league lineup’ joke.

Thursday’s batting order isn’t what you’re going to see a few weeks from now. This team is starting the season without Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis. They’re hoping Bradley Zimmer will contribute at some point, as he continues to rehab from his shoulder injury. The Indians also expect veteran Carlos Gonzalez to contribute by the end of April. Ramirez (Hanley) may not even be on the roster after Zimmer, CarGo and others are ready to play. 

This team isn’t a finished product. Seven players made their Indians' debut against Minnesota. Don't be surprised if that number grows in the near future.

Winning the division isn't going to be as easy as it was a year ago. The Twins have improved and the Indians, at least on paper, have taken a step back. That doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck watching this lineup play all season.

It’s fair to have your reservations, but there’s no reason to panic.