One game after the Guardians’ pitching kept them in an extra-innings win Saturday, the squad found themselves on the other end of a low-scorer in Minnesota.
Aside from one run in the fourth, the Guardians’ bats were largely muzzled in a 3-1 loss.
Minnesota’s Gio Urshela and Byron Buxton each launched homers off Guardians starter Triston McKenzie.
The loss brings Cleveland to 16-17, tied with the White Sox for second in the AL Central.
Across this series and the one prior (against the White Sox), the Guardians managed just two wins out of five.
This stretch was pegged as an early bellwether in gauging the team’s competitiveness in a tight AL Central.
But the Guardians have failed to gain any meaningful ground.
Instead, they’ve two-stepped with the White Sox for second place.
It’s looking increasingly likely that the Twins will remain strong as the season goes on, and it’s not hard to see why.
Buxton, the Twins’ leadoff batter, is an early MVP candidate.
And they’ve thus far been successful despite missing shortstop Carlos Correa.
The World Series champ and two-time All Star has been in and out of the medical tent, most recently dealing with a finger injury.
His replacement, Royce Lewis, made sure the team didn’t miss Correa’s presence against the Guardians, though.
In Saturday’s 12-8 Twins win, Lewis racked up four RBIs.
Ramirez Continues To Mash
Buxton wasn’t the only AL MVP hopeful on the diamond Sunday.
José Ramirez has cooled off just a touch following his red-hot start, but he’s still been a productive force in the middle of Cleveland’s lineup.
And he was one of the few bright spots on Sunday.
Ramirez accounted for the lone run scored by Cleveland after launching his eighth homer of the season.
And fans were here for it:
JOSE RAMIREZ IS THE BEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL LEAGUE LEADING 33RD RBI #ForTheLand
— J 🐳 (@RockTheBabyRuss) May 15, 2022
Jose Ramirez got a hold of this pitch! pic.twitter.com/6at1Ln2qcR
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) May 15, 2022
JOSE RAMIREZ SOLO SHOT TO TIE THE GAME 🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨
LET’S GOOOOO #Fortheland
— 216 Baseball Podcast (@216BaseballPod) May 15, 2022
Top 5 Cleveland athletes:
1: Jose Ramirez
2: Bryan Shaw
3: Myles Garret
4: The one hot dog vendor who told me I dropped my wallet the last game I went to
— Austin Hedges Truther (@mlbfeeelit) May 16, 2022
Ramirez is slashing .290/.386/.581 on the season and has been a huge reason for Cleveland’s offensive success so far.
His 33 RBIs currently lead the MLB; his eight homers are tied for 12th.
Despite giving up three earned runs on Sunday, McKenzie posted a relatively strong start.
He went a full seven innings waiting for the bats to get going.
Unfortunately for McKenzie, the bats were sent back to Cleveland early.
McKenzie’s outing received mixed reviews from fans online:
Carl Willis commends Triston McKenzie for his solid effort and tips his cap to Twins starter Joe Ryan.#ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/YnJtGP5Sp0
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) May 15, 2022
Nearly a year ago, Triston McKenzie had such trouble finding the zone in a game against the Twins that Tito Francona sent him down. He finished last season extremely strong, and looks great today against Minnesota. I’m a Twins fan, but I root for Triston. Glad he’s back.
— Brooks Doherty (@Brooks_Doherty) May 15, 2022
Triston McKenzie is another great pitcher from the Cleveland farm system…
I'm not sure if I love or hate the Dolans😅
— gregg blair (@LakeErie__) May 15, 2022
Triston McKenzie entered today allowing just 1 home run in 102 at bats
He’s allowed 2 home runs in 18 at bats today#Guardians head to the 6th, now down 3-1
— Jensen Lewis (@JLEWFifty) May 15, 2022
Regardless of the flak, the team arguably wasted a quality outing from McKenzie.
He did indeed give up three runs, but it wasn’t like McKenzie was getting hit on all game.
His three runs came on three hits.
In all, it was a hugely missed chance by the Guardians, not just because of McKenzie’s start, but because of what a win would have meant in the AL Central race.
The Guardians will look to bounce back in a home stand against the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers.
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