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Indians defeat Blue Jays 4-1 in season opener

Cabrera, Masterson lead Indians past Jays

Indians defeat Blue Jays 4-1 in season opener
April 3, 2013
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Toronto, ON - Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning off Toronto starter R.A. Dickey and Cleveland starter Justin Masterson worked around early trouble as the Indians beat the Blue Jays 4-1 in Tuesday night's opening season opening contest for both teams.

With the Indians leading 2-1, center fielder Michael Bourn hit a leadoff single to center field. Cabrera followed by hitting Dickey's 1-0 pitch high over the right field wall to put Cleveland up 4-1.

The Tribe's shorstop finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a walk while making two stellar plays on defense.

Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia struggled to control Dickey's (0-1, 4.50) knuckleball, as three passed balls and one wild pitch from the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner allowed Cleveland runners to advance. Dickey struck out four and walked four in six innings.

Masterson (1-0, 1.50) worked around erratic control in the first three innings before settling in to retire the final 11 batters he faced. In the bottom of the third, he loaded the bases with no outs, but gave up a run after a double play and a strike out ended the inning. In six innings of work, he allowed three hits and one run, but issued four walks while striking out five.

The Indians struck early in the second inning and never looked back. Left fielder Michael Brantley led off with a single to right center and after a fly out, he advanced to second on a passed ball. After Mark Reynolds drew a walk, both runners advanced on another passed ball. Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall then picked up his first RBI of the season on a ground out to shortstop Jose Reyes. Newly-acquired right fielder Drew Stubbs followed with a line-drive single to left to pick up his first RBI as an Indians and also put the Tribe up 2-0.

Six Cleveland players had at least one hit and four different players scored the team's runs. First baseman Nick Swisher and designated hitter Mark Reynolds, the Tribe's new power hitters, combined to go 0-for-7 with one walk in their debuts.

The Indians' bats stayed quiet against the Toronto bullpen in the final three innings, as Aaron Loup, Sergio Santos, and Brett Cecil allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out two.

Joe Smith and Vinnie Pestano pitched the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, striking out a batter apiece while retiring six batters in order. Chris Perez worked around a two-out double to pick up his first save of the season.

The Indians will continue their three-game series with the Blue Jays on Wednesday at the Rogers Centre. Right-hander Ubaldo Jiminez (0-0, 0.00) will take the mound for Cleveland against Toronto lefty Mark Buehrle (0-0, 0.00).

Notes: Chris Perez saved his 100th game for Cleveland and is just four saves behind Jose Mesa for third all-time on the team's career saves list. … After the win, the Tribe is now 58-55 overall in season openers and broke a four-game opening day losing streak.

Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English.  He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall.  Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.

User Comments

April 3, 2013 - 11:17 PM EDT
JWahoo, that perception is completely wrong and is derived from the fact he has a strong arm. He's one of the worst fielding outfielder and worst in route running in the league.
April 3, 2013 - 6:07 PM EDT
I definitely thought he declined. I generally take UZR with a grain of salt, and don't really think it's much more accurate than subjectively watching players, but it rated him above average in '10 and '11 and had him as the 3rd worst outfielder in baseball in 2012. DRS also had him positive '09-'11 and hugely negative last year. Watching him over the years, I'd agree with that. In 2010 I would've said his range was pretty average, it didn't really stand out one way or another, but his arm was a huge weapon that overall made him a really good defensive player. The last couple years, he would blatantly break in the wrong direction, and frequently. I'd say Choo last year and Trevor Crowe in 2010 were some of the worst route-runners I have ever seen, to the point that they looked like they weren't watching the game and would be surprised when the ball was hit in their direction. And that's what I thought when the Reds acquired Choo to play CF, that's like having a slower version of Trevor Crowe patrolling center. Which has many opportunities for hilarity.

I think the outside perception is based more on his first few years in the league when he was legitimately good defensively, and seeing him gun down runners. Defensive reputation seems like something that takes a while to change.
April 3, 2013 - 4:37 PM EDT
Tony, yea makes sense.

Seth, Interesting so was it basically the last two years you think he become a poor defender or has he always been? It's just interesting that outside of where he actually plays there seems to be a perception that he is a GGer in RF.
April 3, 2013 - 12:53 PM EDT
Choo isn't going to be the CF for the reds for long i wouldn't think with Ryan Ludwick being out for 8 weeks or something. I think that opens the door for Billy Hamilton and Choo to RF Bruce to LF. Correct me if i'm wrong.
April 3, 2013 - 10:09 AM EDT
Big difference in Masterson's velocity this year from last year's opener. He 4-seam and fastball were both 2 mph higher than last year. I'd been a little worried about Vinnie too after last year but his velocity was good as well.

jwahoo, Choo had one of the best arms in the game, so back when he ran okay routes his arm made him a plus defender. Even last year, when his throws were often off-target, there were plenty of times runner didn't even try going 1st to 3rd when against other right fielders they could've made it with relative ease. His route-running, and accuracy on throws, definitely seemed to decline the last 2 years (and by UZR, he was one of the worst outfielders in the league last year). It's why I really wonder about his conversion to CF, which would seem to neutralize his best asset, his arm, since it always seemed he couldn't hit a cutoff man to save his life, and having a great arm isn't as important in CF. It will be interesting to see how Choo performs for the Reds. I thought some of it the past couple years was Choo's head not being in the game, that he didn't like playing for Cleveland, so perhaps the move to Cincinnati will rejuvenate him.
April 3, 2013 - 7:53 AM EDT
Hopefully Perez goes on to wipe Wickman off of the All Time Saves leader for the Tribe this year.
April 3, 2013 - 12:33 AM EDT
I think you need to show confidence in Lonnie out of the gates and let him play. The bench guys already know they won't get a lot of playing time the first week or so. The starters have to play and get into the groove of the season.....the time will soon come for resting guys.
April 3, 2013 - 12:30 AM EDT
I wonder if we see Raburn or Aviles tomorrow vs the lefty? Perhaps they sit Lonnie for a day. I assume it would be Aviles but I might give the nod to Raburn and see if hes still hot. I think he will provide good power off the bench this year.

Great game with some even better defense. Having Bourn in CF and someone who could win a GG in CF in RF (Stubbs) should really help the pitching staff. I never thought Choo was a great defender at all but why is his defense in the outfield often rated so high? Almost positive I read an article that had him rated above Stubbs and maybe even Bourn.

Ascab looks primed for a great season and we can already see what Stubbs brings to the club. We just need Jason Kipnis to get his act together. I think he is the key to this offense. If he struggles they might have to move Brantley up to the 3 hole. If he puts everything together it allows Brantley to stay in the middle of the lineup and gives us better power and speed from the 3 hole. If he breaks out, Reynolds hits 30 homers, Stubbs bounces back and Chiz holds his own this lineup is primed to explode.

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