LATEST UPDATE (8:18 p.m. EDT)
I’m told we’re about 15 minutes away from getting things started up once agaim. The snow has stopped for now, but the field needs to be cleared. Left field is still covered in white, as is half of center. Right field is almost completely cleared. Temperatures are dropping. Now 28 degrees, feels like 21 with the wind chill.
STORMY FIFTH INNING
Play has halted again and Mike Hargrove and Indians manager Eric Wedge just had a heated discussion with the umpires and each other. Seattle had already loaded the bases on three Paul Byrd walks as the weather continues to deteriorate. With two out and a 1-2 count on Jose Lopez, Hargrove made a brilliant managerial move by charging out of the dugout to demand an answer to why play wasn’t being halted. Lopez obviously can’t see very well and was one strike away from ending what will possibly be Seattle’s final chance to get back in this one. At the very least, Hargrove just managed to throw Byrd’s rhythm off. Wedge is incensed, since this game was a pitch away from being official and his pitcher clearly had the upper hand in the at-bat. Give Hargrove credit. His timing was impeccable and the umpiring crew listened to him. The delay hit at 7:24 p.m. (EDT). The snow is slowing down a little, no crews are out on the field, so they may resume play pretty shortly. But still a good ploy by Hargrove. The guys on Indians radio are going crazy right now trying to figure out how Hargrove could be allowed to pull this off.
(UPDATE: It’s now 7:53 p.m. (EDT) and the grounds crew is frantically cleaning up from what turned into the biggest dumping of snow we’ve had yet. It was a white-out situation in the ballpark for a good five minutes and now both the infield and outfield have to be cleaned again. We’re still a ways away from playing again. I won’t try to guess about the probability of more snow because the conditions here seem to change by the minute. Right now, it’s down to minor flurries. I wonder if Byrd will come back out? He does have a “no-hitter” that’s one strike away from being official. Bet you if he gets that one strike, they’ll bag this one the minute another flake falls.
HORAM THE MAJESTIC
Here’s a neat magic trick. How exactly does a starting pitcher throw 98 pitches over just four innings, walk six guys and not give up an earned run? That’s what Horacio Ramirez just did, getting a strikeout-caught-stealing for a double play to end the fourth. That’s six stranded by the Indians already. Ramirez has been dog-ugly, but all four runs against him were unearned because of three Adrian Beltre errors. That means, unless the Mariners push their luck and send Ramirez out for another inning, he’ll get through Week 1 tied with Felix Hernandez in ERA at 0.00. Amazin’!
Mariners just got their first base runner on a leadoff walk by Raul Ibanez in the fifth. Heading into the inning, the team’s regulars not named Ichiro were a combined 12-for-87 (.138) at the plate.
INDIANS UP 4-0; BELTRE KILLING RAMIREZ
Horacio Ramirez is going to have to sue Adrian Beltre for non-support, since the third baseman just made his second error of the inning and third of the game. Beltre would do everyone a favor if he puts a long-sleeved shirt on. He’s wearing short sleeves for reasons apparent to no one but himself. He has messed up just about every grounder hit his way and is clearly unable to perform in the cold.
Beltre already fumbled the hard shot Victor Martinez hit his way. Then, after Ramirez issued his fourth walk of the game, Beltre double-clutched on a Ryan Garko grounder and his throw to first was late. An ensuing double by Jhonny Peralta brought two more unearned runs home. That’s three for the inning. Ramirez got out of a bases-loaded jam with an Andy Marte 6-4-3 double-play grounder, but his pitch count is topping 80 after just three innings and he’s already walked five. Julio Mateo is warming up. The Indians have already stranded six, so things could be far worse. Seattle isn’t out of it yet, but they’ve gone 14 consecutive innings without a run, so, things have to change soon. Paul Byrd, by the way, has thrown 36 pitches through his three frames.
Martinez has been diagnosed with a left quadriceps strain. Not good news for a catcher. In Mariners bad news, they just went 1-2-3 in the fourth — a 15th straight scoreless frame and they’ve yet to manage a hit.
GAME’S FIRST CASUALTY
Victor Martinez of the Indians just had something happen to his leg as he ran to first base on the second error of the game by Adrian Beltre. That’s what happens when players are made to sit around and keep on starting and stopping in cold weather like this. Martinez is done for the day — a break for the Mariners — but Cleveland has two on, one out and Horacio Ramirez is up to 60 pitches already in the third inning.
ONE MORE TIME
They’ve resumed play 17 minutes later. Wow, that Raul Ibanez is a trooper. He just had a 40-minute at-bat against Paul Byrd. It only lasted three pitches and he flied out to center.
On a more serious note, I wonder if Horacio Ramirez is going to get yanked after just the one inning. That was a very problematic first and he’s going to have sat for nearly 45 minutes by the time he can get out there in the bottom of the second. Told you the bullpen would be a big factor in this series.
OK, so it was a 1-2-3 inning and Ramirez is indeed coming back out to pitch. This should be interesting. Wonder if Yuniesky Betancourt ever saw snow like this before? Poor guy was having breakfast in Florida this morning.
GAME RE-STARTED…STOPPED ONE PITCH LATER
They managed to blow most of the snow off the infield grass, but only did the shallow part of the outfield. Not sure I understand that, but the three outfielders are now standing in snowy grass with the game back underway. The snow has also just started up again but they’ve decided to play through — as they say in golf. Not that this is golf weather. Too bad this isn’t on television. Be sure to catch some video footage on the local news tonight. Game re-started at 5:51 (EDT) after a 22-minute delay…BUT…it started snowing too hard and they’ve called it again after one pitch.
INDIANS 1, MARINERS 0, TOP 2ND DELAYED
Adrian Beltre just made an already-tough day that much more difficult for his pitcher, throwing away a potential double-play ball that would have ended the first inning with no runs across. Victor Martinez hit a tailor-made 5-4-3 grounder to third, but Beltre’s throw missed second baseman Jose Lopez by several feet and allowed a run to score. Horacio Ramirez then walked the bases loaded, but pitched out of further trouble by getting Ryan Garko to swing at a 1-2 offering up around his ears and a foot off the plate, then induced a 6-3 groundout by Jhonny (can’t spell) Peralta with the count full. So, instead of being out of a troublesome inning on 19 pitches, Ramirez is now up to 35 and has given up the unearned run on a single and three walks. It’s snowing again. This can only get better…in fact, the umpire just postponed it one pitch into the second. Another delay.
They are trying to avoid putting the tarp back on, hoping the snow squall passes. Problem is, the flakes are huge and are starting to cover the field again. Let’s wait and see. Man, this is some bizarre weather. Not making it any easier to keep hearing how it’s 75 and sunny in Seattle right now.
GAME OFFICIALLY UNDERWAY
OK, they’re on the field and ready to play! No player intros or anything else associated with Opening Day. It’s 31 degrees at gametime, with a wind chill at 20. Players are staying in the heated dugouts. First-pitch at 5:02 p.m. (EST) after a 57-minute delay.
Here are the revised lineups:
CF Grady Sizemore
LF Jason Michaels
DH Travis Hafner
C Victor Martinez
RF Casey Blake
1B Ryan Garko
SS Jhonny Peralta
2B Josh Barfield
3B Andy Marte
RHP — Paul Byrd
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Jose Vidro
LF Raul Ibanez
1B Richie Sexson
RF Jose Guillen
C Kenji Johjima
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
2B Jose Lopez
LHP Horacio Ramirez
LATEST UPDATE (8:18 p.m. EDT)