|Indians brushed aside by White Sox in home opener|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 13 April 2007 17:09|
One week after their home opener at Jacobs Field was postponed by blizzard-like snow squalls and a weekend-long storm that wiped out an entire series, the Indians were buried by the Chicago White Sox 6-4.
Juan Uribe hit a three-run homer and Jermaine Dye added a two-run shot off Fausto Carmona (0-1) to help the White Sox spoil Cleveland's 107th home opener, which took seven days to get completed.
Javier Vazquez (2-0) struck out Travis Hafner with the bases loaded to end the fourth. Bobby Jenks worked the ninth for his third save.
Just getting the game in was a victory of sorts for the Indians, who haven't been able to stay dry or warm for much of the early season. They had a four-game series against Seattle postponed by the nasty weather. On top of that, the Indians were forced to move a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels to Milwaukee earlier this week.
On Friday, they were just happy to be playing at home.
``It was pretty nice out there,'' Indians catcher Ryan Garko said. ``It was brisk but it felt like September and not January. Hopefully, we can get into our normal routine. We've been all over the place.''
As he headed toward the Jake during the afternoon, Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia noticed something new above Cleveland's downtown skyline - the sun.
``I was surprised, man,'' Sabathia said. ``I forgot that it shined. I forgot that it came out here.''
It was a balmy 49 degrees when musician Billy Joel, performing across the plaza at Quicken Loans Arena, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The sky stayed clear throughout the game, but the White Sox needed a portable propane heater to stay warm in the dugout.
``It wasn't too bad,'' Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. ``I've seen it a lot worse here.''
Sounds like worse is on the way.
There's a 10 percent chance of rain for Saturday's game, which was moved up six hours in case the weather worsens. But Sunday's outlook isn't so promising with temperatures in the 30s and a 60 percent chance of precipitation.
A week ago, Cleveland's first attempt at playing its opener was postponed in the fifth inning following several lengthy delays. Doubleheaders that were rescheduled for Saturday, Sunday and Monday were all whitewashed because of a freakish spring storm that dumped nearly two feet of snow in the region.
The missed games prompted Major League Baseball to move Cleveland's series against Los Angeles to Miller Park in Milwaukee, now famous for its beer, bratwurst and baseball played under a retractable roof.
``It was great to get some games in,'' Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore said, ``and it's going to be even better to get some in at home.''
Four hours before Friday's scheduled first pitch, members of Cleveland's grounds crew worked in cloudless conditions as they watered down the infield dirt in preparation for the oft-delayed opener.
The scene was a very different a week ago, when the maintenance unit - and a few volunteers - armed with leaf blowers, shovels and brooms, tried in vain to combat lake effect snows that turned the Jake into a winter wonderland.
Head groundskeeper Brandon Koehnke said the field was cleared off eight different times from last Thursday through Monday, and he estimated more than 33 inches of snow accumulated on the infield tarp, outfield grass and track.
``The tarp is like Swiss cheese right now,'' said Koehnke, adding the warning track was the most damaged area and needed repair.
The 40-to-50 person grounds crew was saluted during Friday's pregame ceremonies. Each member is being presented with a personalized Indians game jersey. On the back will their last name and the No. 10, representing their status as the club's 10th man.
No strangers to cold weather, the White Sox arrived in Cleveland on Wednesday night after playing that day in California, where it was sunny and in the 60s. But before batting practice on Friday, Chicago's players bundled up in hooded sweat shirts and stocking caps to fight the bitter chill off Lake Erie.
``What's it like outside?'' Guillen asked while sitting in his office.
``It's nice,'' he was told.
``What is it, 32 degrees?'' he said. ``I've been in my hotel room since we got here. Usually I like to walk around the city and see what's going on but I wasn't doing that here. I just stayed in my room.''
ierzynski is in a 2-for-22 slump. ... Larry Doby Jr., the son of Larry Doby, the AL's first black player, visited both clubhouses before the game. Doby Jr. works security for Billy Joel. ... Garko had a career-high four hits.