Spring is in the air, and that means many are gearing up for the start of America’s pastime, baseball.
Teams in Major League Baseball are already competing in spring training, but the big league kicks off with all teams playing their first games on April 1.
Here in Ohio, the Indians open their season on the road, starting with a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers. The Cincinnati Reds open their season a mere few hours later, taking on the St. Louis Cardinals for three games at home in Great American Ballpark.
Both teams are looking to have better luck in the regular season; currently, both teams are struggling to get going during spring training. The Reds are in last place in the Cactus League with only six wins; and one spot above lies Cleveland, only one win more with seven.
Both teams are coming off of a season with high expectations, but disappointing results. They’ve managed to make the playoffs, but neither team managed to win a game. Cincinnati lost two games to the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland lost two games to the Yankees. Cincinnati did not score a single run in either game against the Braves, and after being blown out in game one, the Indians lost a close game two.
The Indians and Reds are both missing key parts of their playoff run coming into the 2021 season, and expectations are lower heading into opening day. The Indians traded away star shortstop and face of the franchise, Fransico Lindor, away to the Mets this offseason for a package of prospects.
The Reds are coming into 2021 without pitcher Trevor Bauer, who signed with the Dodgers in free agency. Bauer had an excellent 2020 season for the Reds, posting an outstanding 1.73 ERA. His pitching played a large part in getting the Reds to the postseason.
Even without these contributors, both teams have some players to look out for heading into opening day. Cleveland still has star pitcher Shane Bieber, who is coming off a dominant 2020 season that saw him only record one loss and take home the American League Cy Young award. Other than Beiber, Cleveland still has some offense in the form of José Ramírez.
The Reds also return with some familiar faces. Star player Joey Votto is still there, and the Reds pitchers are still some of the best despite the loss of Bauer. Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo are highlights of the roster.
This season also bears some special importance for Cleveland, as it might be one of the last ones where they go by the Indians moniker. The team has previously announced that the name will be replaced in the near future. Although no new name has been officially announced, one of the early fan-favorites is to bring back the Cleveland Spiders name. The Spiders were a professional baseball team that played in Cleveland from 1889 to 1899. While there are plenty of other possibilities, the Spiders are an early favorite to take the field in Cleveland.
As opening day rapidly approaches, both teams are likely to win their fair share of games over the course of the long baseball season. But after some key departures, the expectations are not as high as they were just a year ago for both the Reds and the Indians.
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