This will be the first official unofficial game played by the Cleveland Guardians. It’s history in the making!
Today’s Cactus League Lid-Lifter will feature Goodyear mates Cleveland and Cincinnati, with the newly renamed Guardians playing ‘host’ to their rival Reds. Finally, after the 100 day lockout and after the Reds gave away half their roster, we’ll again get to see some spring baseball on display.
Pretty crazy how much can change in one year, eh? This time last year, the idea that Jonathan India would even make the club out of spring training was far-fetched - the maestro’s still only played 34 career minor league games above A+ ball, after all. Wade Miley and Sonny Gray were chompin’ around camp, Eugenio Suarez was blowing bubbles in hopes he could flush his poor 2020 down the tubes, and Joey Votto had just shown up to camp with a new swing for the first time in forever.
Things are different now. Nick Lodolo is starting, and doing so with a legitimate chance to make the Opening Day starting rotation in a theoretical world where service time manipulation no longer exists. TJ Friedl is in the OF today with similar OD thoughts in mind. Matt McLain, last year’s 1st round draftee, is on the bench and will see some time mid-game today.
The roster is aflutter, and thanks to the lockout pushing the transaction season into a condensed March, it’s going to keep shaking down almost every day between now and Opening Day. These guys aren’t just playing for OD spots with the Reds, they’re showcasing for every team in the league right now. Maybe, just maybe, that’ll remove some of the more mundane moments we so often see in Cactus League play and make this particular iteration that much more exciting.
Bally Sports will have this one on the TV for ya, if you’re so inclined. First pitch is set for 4:05 PM ET, and C. Trent has happily a-tweeted the travel roster and lineup for today’s contest.
Go Reds, whichever of you are still around.