March 31, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; General view of O.co Coliseum with the tarp on the field in rain before an opening day baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Cleveland Indians.
OAKLAND — It was pouring when I got to the O.co Coliseum around 6 p.m. Eastern time but with less than an hour before the scheduled first pitch, the rain has stopped and the sun has even peeked out.
There were some questions about what Terry Francona would do with his lineup and there were a couple surprises. Nyjer Morgan will get the start in center and bat leadoff. Francona is optimistic that Michael Bourn could be back soon but did not want to stay by the weekend. Bourn went 2 for 3 in a minor-league game for Triple-A Columbus and will continue to be with the Clippers until at least Friday.
"From all the reports he did real well. We’ll sit down and talk to him when we get back to Cleveland," Francona said.
Said Morgan about getting the Opening Day start: "Basically I came with the mentality that I was going to make this ballclub and do what I can to open their eyes and contribute. Hopefully I was going to be the right piece to fit in."
Asdrubal Cabrera batting seventh is a bit of a surprise, especially since he had plenty of appearances at leadoff during spring training, but with Oakland having three left-handers in the bullpen, Francona wanted to have the switch-hitting Cabrera further down in the order for some balance.
The Yan Gomes contract extension is official (more on that in another story) but there might be some encouraging signs on the Jason Kipnis front. Kipnis says there is no news regarding discussions about an extension but he didnât sound like things were totally shut down. When asked about progress in the Kipnis talks, assistant general manager Mike Chernoff said Chirs Antonetti would address that once the Indians got back to Cleveland. In other words, donât be surprised if there is possible news of an extension for the home opener.
And now the lineups:
Nyjer Morgan CF
Nick Swisher 1B
Jason Kipnis 2B
Carlos Santana 3B
Michael Brantley LF
Ryan Raburn DH
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
David Murphy RF
Yan Gomes C
Justin Masterson P
Coco Crisp CF
Josh Donaldson 3B
Jed Lowrie SS
Brandon Moss DH
Yoenis Cespedes LF
John Jaso C
Josh Reddick RF
Daric Barton 1B
Eric Sogard 2B
Sonny Gray P
Indians vs. Gray: Never faced him.
Athletics vs. Masterson: Crisp 3 for 9, 3 RBI; Donaldson 0 for 9; Lowrie 2 for 11; Moss 4 for 11, HR, 2 RBI; Cespedes 5 for 14, HR, 2 RBI; Jaso 4 for 13, 2 HR, 5 RBI; Reddick 4 for 18, 2 HR, 3 RBI; Barton 5 for 12, 2 RBI; Sogard 1 for 8, RBI.
Masterson vs. Athletics: In eight career starts he is 2-6 with an 8.10 ERA.
Number of the Day: 9 — Consecutive losses by the Athletics in openers, which is tied with the 1972-80 Atlanta Braves and 1893-1901 New York Giants for the longest in Major League history.
Notes: Indians are 58-55 in Openers and broke a four-game losing streak last year. … This is the third time that the Tribe has opened against the Athletics since they have been based in Oakland. They have won the previous two â 8-5 in 1983 and 9-7 in 1997. … The Athletics are 20-26 in openers since moving to Oakland in 1968. … Masterson is 0-5 in games at the O.co Coliseum, one of three current American League stadiums where he hasn’t won a game.