CLEVELAND — Blame it on the rain.
The series opener Tuesday night between the Indians and Diamondbacks at Progressive Field was postponed by inclement weather. That means the two interleague rivals will play a traditional doubleheader today, with the opening game scheduled to start at 4:05 p.m.
Gates open at 3 p.m.
Trevor Bauer (4-7, 4.52 ERA) will start for Cleveland in Game 1, followed by right-hander Josh Tomlin (5-8, 4.68) in the nightcap. Arizona will send left-hander Andrew Chafin (0-0, 0.00) to the mound in the first game, followed by lefty Vidal Nuno (0-3, 4.05) in Game 2.
Chafin, a Kent State University product and Collins Western Reserve High graduate, will be making his major league debut in his hometown team’s park. He resides in Wakeman.
The Indians were in front 1-0 Tuesday, thanks to Jason Kipnis’ RBI double in the third inning. But storms arrived as Cleveland starter T.J. House was facing the first batter in the top of the fourth.
The game was delayed three hours and 40 minutes before it was postponed. The Indians announced a resumption of play at 11:30 p.m. and the tarp was removed, but as the two teams warmed up, the rain came again.
The infield was covered, and that provided some levity for Cleveland players Mike Aviles, Lonnie Chisenhall and Kipnis, who left the clubhouse to perform belly slides on the tarp.
“When you get to the point when it’s like 11 o’clock, 11:30, and you’re just over the whole thing, you get real restless,” Aviles said.
The frivolity at least provided some entertainment for the fans who stuck it out through the lengthy delay.
“That’s pretty impressive for them to stay as long as they did,” Aviles said. “Hopefully they had a little excitement there at the end. Luckily, I had a good supporting cast in Lonnie and Kip.”
“Got to tarp slide after a big-league game. Always wanted to do it,” Kipnis said. “You saw it on videos as a kid — Rick Dempsey, Robin Ventura, Mike Piazza. You have to play this game as a fan sometimes. It was a fun time.
“Fans who waited through the rain delay, you want to give them something.”
WHO: Cleveland vs. Arizona
TIME: 4:05 p.m.
WHERE: Progressive Field
PITCHERS: Game 1 — Bauer (4-7, 4.52 ERA) vs. Chafin (MLB debut); Game 2 — Tomlin (5-8, 4.68) vs. Nuno (0-3, 5.01)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM (second game only)