2021 Cleveland Indians: Home Opener Preview

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The official home opener preview for the 2021 Cleveland Indians from Overtime Heroics exists to provide a layout of everything you should know as baseball comes back to the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. The Cleveland Indians are beginning a new era in the wake of the Francisco Lindor trade as there is a multitude of new faces that will make contributions in a Cleveland uniform amongst the familiar faces returning.

2021 Cleveland Indians: Who, When, & Where?

The Cleveland Indians will begin a two-game series against the Kansas City Royals on April 5th, which is this upcoming Monday. The first pitch of the home opener will be at 4:10 pm EST. The Cleveland Indians will have the lefty Logan Allen on the mound, and the Royals will counter with fellow left-hander Danny Duffy. This two-game series will take place at Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland, the home field of the Cleveland Indians.

Expect manager Terry Francona to write down a group of names on the lineup card that is similar to the nine position players that started on Opening Day in their series with Detroit. Since the beginning of the Francona era, the organization has heavily utilized the platoon philosophy to construct the lineups it believes to be the most effective based on the handedness of the opposing starting pitcher.

If you live in Northeast Ohio, then you understand how unpredictable the weather can be during the early part of the season and how it can affect the play on the field. The forecast for Monday has the temperature in the mid-60s, although there is a fifty percent chance of rain around the scheduled start for the game. Do not be surprised by a delay or even postponement of the game due to inclement weather.

What to Look Forward to This Season

After losing the first series of the season to the Detroit Tigers, it will be interesting to see the team bounce back and try to get a couple of wins after starting on the wrong foot. Luckily there will be 162 games this season so the team will have all the opportunities it could get to play good baseball. I’m interested to see how all the youth on the roster performs in their first opportunities as full-time players at the major league level.

In my 2021 Cleveland Indians predictions article, you can see the predictions I made for the various facets of the team, as well as what I got right, and what I got wrong. While I expected the team to rely on young talent, I did not expect the re-signing of Cesar Hernandez and Amed Rosario moving to centerfield.

In this article, I explained how Aaron Civale and Triston McKenzie could have breakout seasons for Cleveland in the starting rotation this year. They are both talented righties with above-average command and interesting arsenals. With the track record that the Cleveland Indians earned for trotting out above-average starters throughout the 2010s, these two individuals have a chance to join an esteemed group that includes Corey Kluber, Shane Bieber, and Mike Clevinger.

While many have predicted the Cleveland Indians to descend to the basement of the American League, there are also many outcomes where the team is actually pretty good and maybe even a playoff team. Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA projections for the 2021 Cleveland Indians have them in the thick of the race for the AL Central crown. Baseball Prospectus also has a range of outcomes based on PECOTA projections, and at worst the team will be right below .500 at 78-84.

In one of my earlier articles, I stated that this team can still compete against the other teams in the AL Central due to the young pitching talent on the forty-man roster, and I still stand by that claim. The veterans in the position player group on this team led by perennial MVP candidate Jose Ramirez provides a stable springboard for the younger position players that are still establishing themselves as everyday major leaguers to sink or swim.

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Pat Ellington Jr. is a black filmmaker, screenwriter, novelist, and sports journalist from Northeast Ohio.