The hype was real as the Cleveland Indians opened the 2021 season Thursday against the Detroit Tigers.
First pitch rolled around and not even snow flurries could dampen the mood.
Then came the bad stuff.
That lead proved to be insurmountable.
The offense was just nonexistent for far too long and the comeback came too late.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 1, 2021
Shane Bieber Recovers for Great Outing
Bieber looked shaky at the start, but still only allowed three runs on the day.
The highlight was him striking out 12 Tigers batters in only six innings of work.
That put him up there among some MLB greats for yet another dominant Opening Day performance.
Only four pitchers in MLB history have had two Opening Day starts in which they struck out 12+ batters:
That's three first-ballot Hall of Famers… and the Indians' 25-year-old ace.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) April 1, 2021
Three runs to start a game is not ideal.
However, Bieber recovered and was mowing down batters with ease.
This formula is one that should normally lead to victories.
Bieber provided six strong innings and the bullpen was perfect.
But let’s talk about the offense.
Offense Struggles All Day
The weather was terrible for about half of the game.
Still, it was an ugly game for the Indians offense.
There was not any real life until the top of the ninth when Roberto Perez hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to 3-2.
He also drew two walks on the day from the eighth spot in the lineup.
Perez being an above-average player would be huge for the Indians in 2021.
The problem wasn’t some insane amount of strikeouts, as the Indians only struck-out five times.
They just could not sustain any rallies and were rolling over on far too many pitches from Matthew Boyd.
The biggest rally-killer of all came in the top of the eighth.
Franmil Reyes stepped to the plate with two on and one out.
A weak groundout turned into a double play to end any hopes of scoring.
Other Notes From the Opener
Terry Francona is going to keep being creative with his platoon sets until players emerge as legitimate everyday options.
For now, competition remains all throughout the roster.
Opening Day losses are always extremely frustrating.
Months of excitement turn into three hours of pain.
But it’s just one game out of 162.
The Indians did make it close late and are objectively better than the Tigers.
Both teams are off Friday and are back this weekend to finish the three-game series.
Hopefully, the weather warms up along with the bats.