The Cleveland Show ended its season-opening run at Globe Life Park on Wednesday night.
Fortunately for the Texas Rangers, it won’t be back – until, perchance, October.
The bean counters at MLB didn’t do either team any favors when they scheduled the two reigning division winners, the Rangers and Cleveland Indians, to open the baseball season.
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The Indians are loaded again, as you might expect of a team that went to the 10th inning of winning the seventh game of the 2016 World Series. And nothing that manager Terry Francona’s team did during its three games here this week suggests that it shouldn’t still be playing in the postseason.
Cleveland owns the game’s best young shortstop in Francisco Lindor, and the lineup received an off-season upgrade from free agent Edwin Encarnacion.
But it’s the pitching, too. Or in the case of the Rangers, the lack thereof, that turned the season-opening series sour.
When closer Sam Dyson imploded for the second time in three nights Wednesday, a bit of history was made by both sides.
Cleveland had not swept a season-opening series of three or more games since 1952.
The Rangers, on the other hand, were swept at home for the first time since 1991.
In the panorama of the marathon MLB season, the three consecutive defeats may be deemed only a small hiccup. But it couldn’t have sent the sold-out crowd on opening night or the 24,649 in attendance Wednesday home happy.
The bullpen coughed up a late lead in the opener, and Dyson spectacularly failed to hold a two-run lead in game No. 3.
Even by marathon standards, it’s an awful way for a would-be contender to open the season.
Before the game Rangers manager Jeff Banister was talking about the free passes that his pitching staff had dispensed over the first two nights. Texas pitchers had walked 10.
“They’re not out there trying to walk guys,” Banister said. “The walk totals in the two games were not where we want them to be, and they know it and we know it.”
But just when it looked as if Cole Hamels had restored order – six innings, allowing five hits and only one base on balls – Dyson’s command combusted in the ninth.
He was one of the bullpen heroes for the U.S. team that won the World Baseball Classic last month, and he also was mostly unscathed in his spring training appearances in Arizona.
But Dyson faced six Indians on Wednesday and five reached base, two by walks, before Lindor rendered the decision with a grand-slam home run.
After an off day Thursday, the Oakland Athletics will come to town. And none too soon.
The Cleveland Show again is loaded, and the Indians showed it.
They made history, of sorts. And so, alas, did the 0-3 Rangers.