Inside The Wigwam

By: T.J. Zuppe

Opening Day Edition: Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians

Friday: LHP Mark Buehrle vs. RHP Fausto Carmona

Saturday: RHP Edwin Jackson vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco

Sunday: LHP John Danks vs. RHP Justin Masterson

Carmona Getting The Call:

Indians Opening Day Starter Fausto Carmona

Indians right-handed pitcher Fausto Carmona gets the nod as team ace in 2011. The 27-year old hurler will be on the mound Friday for his first opening day start in his career.

He marks the 56th Indians pitcher to get the nod in the opener. (The late great Bob Feller holds the team record with seven starts in the lid lifter.)

Carmona had a solid spring, with an earned run average of 3.72, in 29 innings.

The team hopes he can build on his revitalization last season, where he rebounded from back-to-back lackluster seasons. For the Indians rotation to get off to a good start, they will need Carmona to set the tone.

False Starts:

The Tribe has not fared well in recent history on opening day. In the last 11 years, the Indians hold a mark of 4-7, in game one of 162.

However, in their favor, the club opens at Progressive Field for just the third time since 2001.

The Indians opponent, the Chicago White Sox, have been a familiar face in openers. The teams have met a total of 29 times in game one, with the Tribe holding a slight 15-13 edge over the squad from the Windy City.

In fact, six of the last seven meetings in the lid-lifter have been between to the two.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is not pleased to be starting in Cleveland, calling it “very stupid,” because of the snowy Ohio weather.

Despite the cold temperatures, the game is a sellout, keeping a streak of 18 straight openers at Progressive Field intact.

Youth Wasted on the Young?

If you catch yourself thinking about how many first, or second year players are on the Tribe, it is certainly not an illusion. Cleveland opens the season with a very young 25 and 40-man roster.

Indians First-Baseman Matt LaPorta

In fact, the Indians’ average age on the 40-man squad is 26-years old. That is the youngest average age in the major leagues.

The team has made a concerted effort to finding out what they have in 2011. It is do or die for a handful of prospects to prove their worth at the big-league level, or be categorized as just another bust.

First-baseman Matt LaPorta, outfielder Michael Brantley and right-handed starter Carlos Carrasco will be under the microscope early, with several others not far behind.

Get There Early:

The organization has planned a big day in the opener, so if you are heading down to Progressive Field, make it a point to get to your seat a little earlier than normal.

The team will be paying tribute to Indians Hall-Of-Fame pitcher, the late Bob Feller.

Amongst the celebration of the Tribe great, there will be a video tribute, a special banner presentation and Anne Feller will toss out the ceremonial first pitch.

The players will also be sporting special “number 19” jerseys during pregame introductions.

The number 19 will also appear behind the pitcher’s mound, in memory of Feller.

The gates swing open at 1:00PM on Friday, and fans will receive a special 2011 schedule magnet, as well as a car magnet.

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