It was long day in Cleveland. But isn’t it always a long day in Cleveland?
But it was indeed a long day at Progressive Field as the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays played the longest Opening Day game in MLB history lasting 16 innings before Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia hit a three run homerun to give the Jays a 7-4 win. The Tribe had been leading 4-2 in the 9th inning when Edwin Encarnacion tied the game with a two run double wasting eight strong innings for Indians starter Justin Masterson. Everybody got their money’s worth except for Indians fans. Then again by the end of the game, Progressive Field looked as empty as old Municipal Stadium by Lake Erie.
Up the road in Detroit, I saw parts of the Red Sox-Tigers game on TV while at work. Justin Verlander was overpowering the Sox with his fastball. The scary thing was that his curveball was even better. Verlander’s hook broke sharper than Bert Blyleven. He gave up only two hits and had a 2-0 lead going into the 9th. I wondered if Tigers manager Jim Leyland was going to let Verlander go for the complete game or bring in Jose Valverde for the save. Leyland opted to bring in Valverde. In 2011, Valverde went 49 for 49 in save opportunities. Well, the Sox were grateful to see anyone other than Verlander on the mound and ended up tying the game thus ending Valverde’s save streak on day one. It was his first blown save since September 2, 2010. However, Valverde got the win on a Austin Jackson single in the bottom of the ninth.
And the season has only just begun.