Cleveland Indians 2011: Season Opens with Mixed Results

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Cleveland Indians 2011: Season Opens with Mixed Results
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The Cleveland Indians now have three games in the books for the 2011 season. The collective heads of Tribe fans surely were shaking for most of the weekend.

After two embarrassing losses to the Chicago White Sox (15-10, 8-3), the Indians were able to rally and take the third game of the series by a score of 7-1 in a well-played ballgame.

While three games is a very small sample size in the greater picture, it nonetheless serves as a decent barometer for debate.

 

The Good

Carlos Santana

 Proving that his phenomenal rookie campaign was no fluke, Santana gathered six hits in 13 at-bats, with a home run and three RBI.

During the winning effort against the White Sox, Santana started his first-ever game at first base and responded with a diving catch off an errant bunt attempt that turned into a triple play.

The play was critical in the early phases of the game and got pitcher Justin Masterson out of trouble early.

 

Justin Masterson

 The young hurler took the mound after the Indians had given up 23 runs over the first two games, both losses.

While Masterson did not strike anyone out (truly a surprise for the punch-out artist), he did cruise through seven innings only allowing one run and scattering seven hits en route to the win.

Last season, he did not earn his first win until June. This could mean that Masterson has turned the corner and could become the pitcher we thought we were receiving in the Victor Martinez trade.

 

Travis Hafner

 Could "Pronk" be back? That remains to be seen, but he did start the 2011 campaign on the right track.

Hafner had five hits in the three-game set against the 'Sox, including a home run and two RBI, running his batting average up to .385.

 

Orlando Cabrera

 While it's too early to see if the 36-year-old veteran can sustain an entire season, he did look good this weekend. O-Cab had five base hits, including a round-tripper, with five RBI, running his average up to .417.

He also played solid defense as well, sporting a 1.000 fielding percentage and was an integral part of turning the triple play.

 

The Bullpen

 Even though Justin Germano was roughed up in three innings of relief work, the rest of the 'pen looked pretty good.

Chris Perez, Rafael Perez, Vinny Pestano and Tony Sipp all worked scoreless frames in relief. I think this continues to be a strong suit for the Tribe down the road.

 

Honorable Mention

 Michael Brantley (4-for-12 with a double and three RBI), Jack Hannahan (4-for-11 with a home run and three RBI) and Lou Marson (2-for-3 in one game's action, with a double and a run batted in).

 

The Bad

Matt LaPorta

 A slow start in the first two games compelled manager Manny Acta to pull LaPorta and give Santana a shot at first base, with Lou Marson behind the plate.

The move worked, with Santana and Marson going a collective 4-for-7. LaPorta has struggled early, going 2-for-9 with a run batted in.

 

Carlos Carrasco

 I suppose this will not go under the "ugly" section due to the fiasco that was Fausto Carmona's Opening Day start, but Carrasco looked almost equally ineffective.

Even though he did pitch into the seventh inning, he still allowed seven runs on 10 hits—yeesh.

 

The Ugly

Fausto Carmona

 Needless to say, this is not what Tribe fans were looking for out of ace Carmona.

Three innings with 10 earned runs? Eleven hits including two home runs? Look for him to hopefully settle down in his next start, and build on the five 'Sox he was able to sit down on strikes.

The veteran has to be an asset for the young rotation, not a liability.

 

Shin-Soo Choo

 I would never have guessed this, but again, the season is very, very young.

Nonetheless, Choo has only managed one hit in his first 12 at-bats, including six strikeouts. I know he will still most likely be the most valuable player of this team and he will snap out of this funk, but not a great showing in the least for the linchpin of the batting order.

 

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