The Cleveland Indians are back home Friday and will be playing in front of the largest crowd seen at Progressive Field since 2019.
That is a cause for some celebration.
The night is being dubbed “Opening Day 2.0” and should be a fun atmosphere for those in attendance.
But there is still actual baseball to talk about as the Indians return home with a record of 32-27, which puts them 4.5 games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox.
The good news, beyond the fact the stadium is opening up again, comes with the pitchers scheduled to take the mound this weekend against the Seattle Mariners.
Aaron Civale Looking To Limit The Runs
Aaron Civale is on the mound Friday, coming off a win in his last start against the Baltimore Orioles.
He did allow four earned runs, but the offense scored 10 in the 10-4 victory.
Civale also allowed four earned runs in his start before that, boosting his ERA to 3.49 on the year.
Of course, that mark is not bad at all.
The bump just proves how solid Civale has been all year.
He is not going to get strikeouts like the staff’s ace, but the Indians have only lost three times when Civale has started this year.
More Opportunities For Triston McKenzie
#Indians RHP Triston McKenzie to be recalled from Triple-A Columbus and start Saturday vs Seattle.
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) June 8, 2021
Triston McKenzie last started for the Indians during the Memorial Day doubleheader.
He allowed five earned runs, but also had 10 strikeouts.
His last start overall came in Triple-A Columbus and he looked dominant in 5.1 innings of work.
Triston McKenzie's line from his start for Triple-A Columbus this afternoon:
5.1 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 71 pitches
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) June 6, 2021
The key with McKenzie is limiting walks.
He is not on a strict pitch count like Cal Quantrill and Jean Carlos Mejia, so he is still capable of going late into games.
The problem has been him struggling early or running the pitch count too high due to walks.
Maybe starting in front of a raucous home crowd can improve his game.
Shane Bieber Set For The Matinee
Having Shane Bieber pitch is a treat for Indians fans every time he takes the mound.
He is set to go Sunday as the Indians will hopefully be looking for the sweep.
Bieber’s last start came Tuesday in St. Louis when he finished with only five strikeouts in six innings of work.
But that did not matter because he only allowed one run and the Indians won by a final of 10-1.
Bieber’s current quest in 2021 is to lead MLB in strikeouts and to bring home another Cy Young Award.
He is already one of the favorites, thanks to the fact Jacob deGrom pitches in the National League, and will remain so barring some unexpected collapse.
There is no better way to enjoy some Sunday baseball at Progressive Field than to watch Bieber make opposing hitters look foolish.
Doing so with a normal crowd will be quite the sight after playing for so long under unique, but necessary, circumstances.
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