CLEVELAND, Ohio — Opening Day 2.0 went well for the Indians.
Friday night’s game was the first time Progressive Field could operate at 100% capacity from an attendance standpoint because of the loosening of COVID protocols. The fans didn’t fill the place, but the 22,920 who came did not go away disappointed as the Indians beat Seattle, 7-0, to open this seven-game homestand.
The top of the lineup once again kick started the offense and Aaron Civale atoned for a May loss to the Mariners with perhaps the best start of his career.
Civale (9-2, 3.17) allowed one hit over eight innings. He struck out a career-high 11 batters and retired the last 22 Mariners he faced. It was the low-hit game of his career and served as an early birthday present for Civale, who turns 26 on Saturday the 12th.
He ended the eighth with only 101 pitches, but Indians manager Terry Francona went to the bullpen because of the state of the rotation and the schedule. Friday was the first of 30 games in 31 days for the Indians and Francona has big questions with three of the five starters in the rotation.
“I told him, ‘You can be mad at me,’” said Francona. “Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have batted an eye about sending him back out there. With three-fifths of our rotation not in the rotation, I can’t do that. I told him that. He’s a…