The Guardians’ win against the Houston Astros on Monday was never really in doubt.
Cleveland racked up six runs before the Astros scored their first, and by the ninth inning, the Guardians were sitting comfortably at 6-1.
And no, this isn’t a setup for some nightmare scenario where the Astros miraculously came back in the bottom of the ninth.
Nope, the Guardians simply won.
The win halts a bit of a skid for Cleveland, who had only won two of their last seven contests.
Cleveland still sits a game and a half out of second behind Chicago, and a full six games behind the Twins for first in the AL Central.
But let’s not focus on the negatives, shall we?
Here are three things that went right in the Guardians’ win in Houston:
1. José Ramirez’s Bat
Ramirez was simply excellent on Monday.
Of the six runs scored by the Guardians, JRam accounted for four of them.
— MLB (@MLB) May 24, 2022
The first came on a third-inning groundout before the star gashed Astros pitcher Luis Garcia for a two-run homer two innings later.
The game elevated Ramirez to ninth place across the league in homers and first across all pros in RBIs, with 41.
It was a great showing from what has been a slower and quieter second month of baseball for Ramirez.
Last month, Ramirez was hitting the ball at an insane .342 clip; this month, his numbers have fallen back down to earth, with the third baseman hitting only .219 in the month of May.
But Cleveland’s offense rises and falls with Ramirez’s bat.
His game is a perfect bellwether for the team; if Ramirez plays well, the team usually fares better.
For example, in Cleveland’s wins this season, Ramirez is hitting a strong .338; in losses, he’s a less-than-stellar .236.
Ramirez might not be able to carry the team on his own, but that certainly doesn’t mean he won’t try.
2. Triston McKenzie’s Endurance
For the last few weeks, the Guardians’ pitching and batting have not been aligned.
The bats might pop off for eight or more runs, but they have to because the pitching has been all over the place.
Or the pitching might be there, but it’s still not enough because the offense didn’t show up.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) May 24, 2022
On Monday, the team put it all together to get the win.
In particular, starting pitcher Triston McKenzie did his part to keep the game close all day.
Through seven innings of work, McKenzie only surrendered one run and three hits.
He’s not a strikeout machine like Shane Bieber, but he found a way to get the job done.
3. Houston’s Errors
It was an error-filled day for the Astros.
In the ball game, Houston’s sloppy performance translated to two official errors.
And unfortunately for the Astros, those errors were costly.
The first came in the third inning, when Luis Garcia fielded a bouncing grounder, turned, and flipped a throw that was intended for the second baseman into center field.
Luke Maile was able to tag home on the mistake.
Then, in the seventh, Ramirez sent a grounder to second, and the ensuing throw to first was sent in the dirt and skidded past the Houston first baseman.
Two more runs scored on that error.
It was truly nothing the Guardians did on their own, but hey, sometimes you need a little help from the baseball gods.
Finally, Cleveland received some of that help.