Carlos Santana saves his best for his birthday.
Record: 1-2 Series: 0-1
AL Central: 0-0 AL Central Series: 0-0
For anyone pondering the merits of any "Curse of Rocky Colavito," or general Cleveland sports-related curse, the Tribe's opening series against the Toronto Blue Jays provided substantial evidence to the affirmative in the first two stanzas.
Despite the comically bizarre opening day setback and equally strange near-replay on Saturday, the first weekend of 2012 demonstrated obvious grounds for encouragement.
Where the Indians' starting pitching impressed like a unit fit to compete for the AL pennant, the bullpen disturbingly broke down in areas advertised as core-competence: closing and middle relief.
2011 All-Star Chris Perez blew a three-run lead on opening day and the normally-reliable Tony Sipp surrendered a two-run double in the 12th on Saturday.
On opening day Masterson hurled a 10-strikeout, one-run, two hit gem, followed by a pleasantly surprising performance from Ubaldo Jimenez.
Sunday, the Tribe finally put it all together for the first win of 2012.
The freshly-acquired Derek Lowe induced a perpetual stream of ground balls for seven innings, and catcher Carlos Santana ripped two home runs on his 26th birthday.
Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and Jack Hannahan homered over the 37-inning, three game marathon against the Jays, a good club who could surprise in the AL East this season.
Which Indians unit impressed the most over Opening Day weekend 2012?
Though they each sent one over the wall this past weekend, the up-the-middle, one-two punch of Kipnis and Cabrera struggled against Toronto. The Indians will depend on both Kipnis and Cabrera to hit near .300 this season.
In addition to the three starting pitchers, the Wahoo Warriors' infield impressed critics with only two errors despite an additional 10 innings over the first two games. Free agent first baseman Casey Kotchman in particular, lived up to his billing defensively, while Jason Kipnis demonstrated his agility, range and overall health after struggling with injuries late last season.
The Tribe's starting pitching surrendered a stingy six earned runs and eight hits in 23 1/3 innings of work, with Josh Tomlin set to return after a sprained right elbow cut his promising 2011 campaign a month short.
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