Friday, April 10, 2015

Tribe's homer opener to renew Indians-Tigers rivalry

The Indians will renew their rivalry with the Tigers on Friday when Cleveland opens its 2015 home slate with a renovated Progressive Field.
Right-hander Zach McAllister will draw the starting assignment in front of the sold-out crowd for the Tribe, which saw starters Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer spin a 0.92 ERA in the season's first three games. Offseason-acquisition Alfredo Simon will start for the Tigers, who are aiming for a fifth straight American League Central crown this season.
Things to know about this game:
• All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley sat out the last two games of the season-opening series in Houston due to stiffness in his lower back. The discomfort has bothered Brantley sporadically since the start of Spring Training. The Indians plan on having Brantley examined further on Friday in Cleveland to hopefully gain more clarity about the issue.
• Teams don't usually set up their rosters for matchups in early April, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus used Joe Nathan's roster spot to call up a third lefty reliever in Blaine Hardy, a move specifically aimed at Cleveland's lefty-heavy lineup. However, Indians batters went 6-for-19 last year against Hardy, who also gave up six walks.
• Though Ausmus said rookie right-hander Angel Nesbitt has the ability to blossom into a late-inning reliever in the big leagues, he isn't sure he'd throw him into a big late-inning situation quite yet. Nesbitt, who hadn't pitched above Double-A before he made the Opening Day roster, split last season closing between Class A Advanced Lakeland and Double-A Erie.

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